Former White House chef shares recipe for honey habanero chicken

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Andre Rush, also known as Chef Rush, is an Army veteran-turned-former White House chef. The author of “Call Me Chef, Dammit!” shares his favorite White House recipes, including one for a honey habanero chicken.

Honey Habanero Chicken



2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into diced cubes or strips

3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup lime juice, from two limes

4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp Kosher salt

1 tsp crushed chili flakes

1 tsp honey habanero

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsps sugar

Green Sauce:

3 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded if desired, and roughly chopped

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leave

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tbsp fresh lime juice, from one lime

½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

Citrus Saffron Rice:

¼ cup boiling water

Pinch of saffron threads (roughly ½ tsp)

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed

1 tbsp refined coconut oil or butter

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ cup stock (veggie or chicken)


For Chicken:

1. Puree garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, oil, cumin, paprika, oregano and a pinch of black pepper and honey habanero in a blender.

2. Put chicken in a large Ziploc bag and add marinade.

3. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for 8 to 12 hours. But can leave for 24 hours – the longer in the marinade, the better.

To Grill Chicken:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (around 350 degrees)

2. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off any excess. Place on the grill grates. Let chicken cook for 5-6 minutes, with the grill cover closed to maintain the heat.

3. Use tongs to flip the chicken thighs. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. (Use a thermometer to make sure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.)

To Cook Chicken in Oven:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken pieces in a 13 x 9 inch roasting pan, along with 1 cup of water. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes, then tent the pan with foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes, until browned and fully cooked.

For Green Sauce:

1. Combine all ingredients, except the olive oil in a blender. Process until smooth.

2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil.

3. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Citrus Saffron Rice:

To cook on stove top:

1. Combine saffron threads and boiling water and allow to steep for at least five minutes.

2. In a medium pot, combine saffron and boiling water with the basmati rice and all other ingredients.

3. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes before serving.

To cook in rice cooker:

1. Combine saffron threads and boiling water and allow to steep for at least five minutes.

2. Combine saffron and boiled water with the basmati rice and all other ingredients.

3. Cook using the white rice function (or regular function if there is not a white rice option).

4. Once the cook time is up, fluff with a fork and serve.