Cocoa-cardamom Chicken

Cocoa powder may not be traditionally used to cook savory dishes, but I love to use it in my rubs and seasoning blends. Combined with cardamom and smoked paprika, it lends not only a gorgeous color to the chicken but also an amazing flavor. I’m sure you’ve heard all about chocolate being considered an aphrodisiac, but did you know that cardamom and paprika make that list too? This simple, delicious meal is bound to impress your special someone and may even boost those sometimes-fickle feelings of affection. Easy-to-make, nutritious, and filled with good-for-you stuff, this dish is a winner. Make it next time you’re entertaining at home!

Cocoa-cardamom chicken

cardamom chicken
Roasted peewee potatoes. Rustic acorn smash.


  • Grape seed oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1.5 lbs pewee potatoes, thoroughly washed
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat oven at 400° F


Combine cocoa powder, cardamom, and paprika with a drizzle of grape seed oil in the bottom of a bowl.  Add chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper; using your hands, rub marinade all over chicken. Allow sitting for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

Heat 2 tbsp of grape seed oil over high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Do in 2 batches, if necessary, and place on baking tray. Transfer chicken to oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until cooked all the way through. Allow cooling for a few minutes before cutting.


Season potatoes with cumin, salt and pepper; add 1 tbsp of grape seed oil and toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Set aside.

Acorn Squash

Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds and membranes. Place halves on a baking tray skin-side down; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn squash halves skin-side up and bake for 35-40 minutes, until tender. Allow cooling and then remove flesh with a spoon onto a bowl; make sure to add any drippings from the pan. Using a fork, mash acorn squash until a rustic puree consistency has been reached.

This post was written by Alejandra Schrader, a Los Angeles based chef, healthy-cooking advocate, and public speaker.

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