Marcus Samuelsson’s Chipotle Chicken

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a habit of doing some kind of reading just before I go to bed. No matter where I am, whether it’s been at home, in a hotel while traveling, at my dorm room and apartment when I was in college, or even visiting at another person’s house, I always have a book that I carry with me and place on a night stand just beside the bed within arms reach that I read before I go to sleep. Besides the fact that I think it somewhat helps my body ‘wind down’ to sleep, I’ve always just really loved reading.

Now what exactly I read has shifted somewhat over the years. At first and for a while, I mainly stuck to fiction but as my interests have evolved, so has my reading preferences. For a while I was in a real historical non-fiction/biography kick, so I was reading those a lot.  But nowadays, my bedside reading mainly comprises of two things: cookbooks and food magazines.

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I’m serious you guys. That’s what I ‘read’ before I go to bed just about every night. I’m looking across from my bed right now and I can tell you exactly what’s there if you don’t believe me:

The Food Network Magazines from November 2014, December 2014, and January 2015 (they’re still there beacause I haven’t gotten around to cutting out the clippings of the recipes I want to try yet- but I will. Scout’s honor)

My recipe notebook for when I’m in the kitchen and recording a new recipe- it’s not very organized and it’s actually pretty beat up and stained with food from my haphazard kitchen adventures, but it does have a special place on my nightstand.

“Marcus Off Duty” by Marcus Samuelsson

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The third one has been a really particular favorite ever since I received it for a Christmas present from my older sister Ashley. I was just thrilled to get this book, guys. Number one, IT’S SIGNED by HIM (which literally made me scream when I opened it on Christmas Day, so not kidding) Number two, I’m a huge Marcus Samuelsson fan; aside from his MAD skills in the kitchen I really love his approach to reinventing comfort food as both sophisticated yet still approachable for ‘ordinary folk’ like me. Also, he’s one of the snappiest dressers I’ve ever seen, and rather easy on the eyes if you know what I mean *wink wink*

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The story of his rather extraordinary life is written in the wide diversity of his food, something that’s made very apparent in this latest cookbook of his. Ever since Christmas it’s stayed on my nightstand and not a day goes by when I don’t find myself coming back to skim through this book and pick something out that I really want to try out and make.

This recipe was the first one that I’ve gotten around to making because (of course) I’m always looking for new things to do with chicken. This may sound extreme for me to say, but it’s the truth so I’m gonna say it anyway: this is just about some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Seriously. The marinade has so much complexity of flavors and they really do hit all the right notes; first you get the acidity from the lime juice, then the sweet citrus of the orange and chili sauce, and finally the heat from the adobo creeps up on you from the back of your tongue just as after you swallow. I have no idea how he manages to do that in just one recipe but I nonetheless bow down to Marcus’ greatness.

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One bite of this dish really makes you realize that this is somebody who not only knows how to cook, but also really understands the way the tongue processes and ‘reads’ flavors so to speak. What’s even more crazy is that he can do that with boneless, skinless chicken breasts- which I’ve noticed most chefs turn their noses up at as boring and tasteless.

This recipe originally called for the meat to be placed on skewers and either broiled or grilled. I did that, but I forgot to let my skewers soak overnight and could only let them sit in water for about an hour- which apparently wasn’t long enough to keep them from being scorched. No way was I letting burned, blackened, ugly skewers ruin my photoshoot, so I just slid the chicken off for the camera and dressed it up with how I ate it after it was done; wrapped in a tortilla with rice on the rice. So friggin GOOD.

I’m late to the Fiesta Friday #54 party this week, but that’s okay. Thanks to Angie@TheNoviceGardener for hosting, and  Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook for co-hosting.

And HUGE thanks to Marcus for his cookbook, as well as this chicken.



Marcus Samuelsson's Chipotle Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson



For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo (or more to taste)’
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder

For the Chicken

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium red onions, cut through the root into sixths
  • 18 (6 inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh


1. Make the marinade: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if you need to.

2. Make the chicken: Put the chicken into 1-gallon zip-top bag, add 1/2 cup of the marinade and massage to coat all the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight). Reserve the rest of the marinade.

3. Preheat the broiler; if using a gas grill, preheat to medium.

4. While the grill or broiler is heating up, slide 1 piece of onion onto each skewer, followed by 3 pieces of chicken. Continue until you’ve filled all the skewers. Arrange the skewers in a single layer with salt and pepper and brush 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade.

5. Broil the chicken skewers, without turning them, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. If grilling, they’ll take 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro and basil.

6. Bring remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and serve with the skewers.

34 thoughts on “Marcus Samuelsson’s Chipotle Chicken

  1. I amd a huge Mexican food fan here and your dish looks awesome. I am a vegetarian but I can totally use your marinade my tofu in it!! Amazing! Hope you a are having fun at ff54.

    1. I think this would definitely work for tofu- and honestly, I made a separate batch of the ‘marinade’ after the fact to use as a regular sauce (it was that good lol) Thank you Sonal 🙂

  2. My nightstand sounds a lot like yours, Jess…though mine doesn’t have this Marcus Samuelsson cookbook. Thank you for sharing a recipe I wouldn’t have stumbled upon without you! I do believe YOU just determined my Monday night dinner…my husband sends his thanks. 🙂 The marinade sounds sooo good! (That rice looks yummy too.)

  3. Wow. This sounds amazing- I get a little star struck when you are talking about a Marcus Samuelsson dish!! When we first moved to New York, my brother and sister-in-law gave us a gift card to eat at his restaurant Aquavit- AMAZING! We saved it for a wedding anniversary celebratory meal. I want to go eat at his new “fried chicken” restaurant!! 🙂 I am trying this dish for sure- Yay!!
    Anyway- my leisure reading is pretty much exclusively food magazines as well- and cookbooks that I borrow from the library- I can’t help myself!! So crazy 🙂 Happy FF! 🙂 Josette

    1. Eating at one of MS’ restaurants is on my Bucket List. I’ve just got to make it happen. And YES, I totally understand what you mean. I can’t help myself either when it comes to cookbooks and magazines. Thanks Josette 🙂

    1. It’s in my Top 5 Marinades I’ve ever had (and I’ve had plenty, trust me). I even went ahead and made a completely new batch just to use as a sauce, so I definitely think it would work with veggies Elaine 🙂

  4. I always like to read before going to be too but I don’t think i could read recipes, I wouldn’t be able to sleep after from being hungry haha! Although at the moment I’m reading The Shining which doesn’t exactly help me sleep either haha
    This chicken looks amazing, definitely a winner!

    1. Haha, I see your point there Michelle. Oftentimes, I do find myself laying awake at night before I fall asleep thinking about what I’m gonna cook next for the blog lol Thank you!

  5. I just love the beautiful color and glaze on the chicken. the combination of flavors looks irresistibly mouth watering.

    1. Ugh me toooo Naina, and I used to read so many friggin chapter books lol Now, all my reading time is spent on cookbooks, magazines and food blogs lol Thanks 😀

  6. Glad to see someone besides me read cookbooks like novels. I was at the airport this weekend reading a cookbook. I felt a little silly, but oh well it’s what I do 🙂

  7. Just when I had vowed to stop buying cookbooks, you convinced me to get another one. Because I also think Marcus is amazing. (And handsome.) But I have to say that I’ve been to Aquavit a few times over many years and I don’t love it anymore — the current one has a sort of cold, business-lunch feel to it. I would LOVE to try Red Rooster in Harlem, though.

    1. Red Rooster is on my Bucket List. I’ve GOT to eat there. I do have to recommend this cookbook; it’s one of the best and most creative I’ve ever bought….and if you could see how many I have you’d know I don’t say that lightly lol

    1. This is actually the only one I have Bonnie- makes me treasure it all the more. This is a REALLY good, healthy dinner that doesn’t taste like it at all. Thanks 😀

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