1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup plain Greek-style (thick) yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
12 to 18 small boneless chicken thighs, trimmed
2 large, ripe mangoes, peeled, one of them cut into 1/2 -inch thick slices and one of them cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
2 cups jasmine rice
3 cups water or part water, part chicken broth
3 tablespoons herb mixture (see above)
Cubed mango pieces (see above)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
For the chicken, in a food processor, combine chopped cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika, sea salt and cayenne pepper. Puree. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until well blended. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the herb mixture for the rice (see below). Add yogurt and lemon juice to remaining herb/spice mixture.
Place chicken thighs in a large, zipper-top plastic bag, add herb/yogurt mixture and mix well. Let stand at room temperature for 35 to 40 minutes, moving chicken and marinade around in bag a couple of times. If marinating for a longer time, place in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
Prepare grill for medium cooking. Place chicken on grill (discard marinade). If using a gas grill, reduce heat to low. Cover chicken and cook 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add mango slices to grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning once..
For the rice pilaf, while chicken cooks, in a medium pan, combine rice water and/or chicken broth, and reserved 3 tablespoons of the herb/spice mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fold in the cubed mango pieces and toasted pine nuts.
To serve, arrange chicken on a large platter and garnish with grilled mango slices and cilantro sprigs. Serve rice on the side. Makes 6 servings of 2 to 3 chicken pieces each.
Sweet spiced papaya
In keeping with our quasi-tropical theme, we're thinking dessert now. This simple, juicy confection makes a perfect foil for pound cake slices or a favorite sherbet, or both. And talk about make-ahead: it'll keep, covered and refrigerated, for about 3 weeks.
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
3 1/2 pounds firm papayas, peeled, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2 -inch thick strips
Mix together sugar and allspice. In a heavy, 3-quart saucepan, spread 2/3 cup of the sugar mixture, add cinnamon stick, then add half the mango strips. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the remaining sugar mixture over mango strips. Add remaining mango strips, then the remaining sugar mixture.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until sugar is completely dissolved; shake the pan occasionally but do not stir.
Uncover pan and simmer mangoes for about 10 minutes, until they appear translucent. Remove pan from heat and cool, then remove mangoes from pan to a bowl, cover and chill overnight. Discard cinnamon stick before serving. Makes about 5 cups.