Cocoa Blackened Chicken
While visiting my sister on the island of Grenada, we visited a cocoa plantation and ate lunch while we were there. It was a beautiful open air restaurant with a pre-set menu and buffet. I had a banana soup that was purple (no clue why it was that color, but it was pretty darn tasty), as well as some other local dishes. Considering it was a cocoa plantation, one of the local meat options was a blackened grilled chicken that was rubbed in cocoa powder and some other spices. I loved it so much, I decided to recreate it when I got back to California. Here is my take on that dish, a Whole 30 dry rubbed cocoa chicken. My version is baked, since it has been raining a lot and good portion of the country does not have access to a grill outside during winter. The cocoa adds to the rest of the spices without being the dominate flavor - I sort of made this up as I was adding the spices and was very pleased at the balance of seasoning on the chicken thighs. This meal was perfectly paired with roasted broccoli, but feel free to change out what ever clean eating side dish you're in the mood for.
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (3 pounds of meat)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cayenne powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Trim off as much excess fat as you can off the chicken thighs. Mix all of the spices together in a bowl. Grab one of the chicken thighs and cover the entire surface of the meat with the cocoa dry rub. Repeat this process for each thigh.
Place the chicken into a large plastic bag and squeeze all of the air out. I left the bag of dry rubbed chicken in the fridge for 4 - 5 hours, but if you wanted to proceed to cooking the chicken you can. The longer the rub is on the meat, the more the flavor gets into the meat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a glass baking pan with cooking spray or oil the pan with a paper towel and olive oil. Add all the chicken to the pan and place into the oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Slice and enjoy!