I found this Cuban inspired recipe online and modified it a bit to meet our tastes. There are many variations of Mojo. In Cuba it’s a household staple for many recipes. It’s typically made with fresh oranges and limes, garlic, oregano, cumin, parsley and cilantro. The original recipe I found didn’t have enough of all these wonderful ingredients, so I increased some of the citrus and seasonings and added just a little heat (for our tastes). Mojo is not spicy, but we liked the addition with the sweetness from the fruits. The roasting process is easy and results in a juicy, deeply flavorful bird. We had purple potatoes from the farmer’s market that were calling my name, so I roasted them with extra virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Finishing them with a bit of lemon zest and a chop of Italian parsley before serving was outstanding. We added a red leaf romaine lettuce salad with roasted corn and on the side fresh green garbanzos, steamed and tossed in lemon, salt and olive oil. It was a feast!
- 4 to 5 lb whole organic chicken, inner parts removed (neck, liver, etc)
For the Marinade
- 10 cloves of fresh garlic
- Zest (2) oranges (approximately two tablespoons), plus another tablespoon for garnish
- Juice of (1) orange (approximately 1/2 cup)
- Zest of (2) limes (approximately two teaspoons), plus another teaspoon for garnish
- Juice of (3) limes (approximately 1/4 cup)
- 2 T toasted cumin seeds, ground
- 2 T dried oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
Please note: If you can not get enough juice out of your orange, you can use a bit of orange juice.
For the Roast
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced in 1/8 inch slices (moon shape)
- 2 organic red bell peppers, cut in half, seeded and sliced in 1/8 inch slices about 2 inches long
- 1/2 C white wine
- 3-4 Bay leaves
- Zest from lime and orange
- Cilantro with stems
- Cracked black pepper
- Lime wedges and orange slices
The best results come from marinating for at least 4 hours, but I think marinating up to 24 hours would be fantastic. For the marinade: zest oranges and limes and set aside. Juice the oranges and limes so you get at least 1/2 cup. If you can not get enough juice from the fruits, you can use a bit of frozen o.j. Add juices, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and olive oil to blender. Thoroughly blend until all incorporated. Place your rinsed chicken in a ziplock. Add in marinade, seal and cover all parts of the chicken by gently rocking the ziplock back and forth to completely cover in marinade. Put in fridge until one hour before roasting. About 30 minutes from roasting, grab a large cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add in your. sliced onions, cooking for about 5 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add in the red bell peppers and sauté for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, When ready to roast, pull chicken from zip lock, but don’t spill your marinade ~ it goes in the roast! Place chicken on sheet pan. Scoop onion, pepper saute into a Dutch oven. Add in all the marinade and stir. Place chicken breast side down in the Dutch oven and drizzle some of the juices over the top. Put the lid on and roast on 450 F for about 25 minutes. Turn chicken over, baste with more of the juices, cover and roast for another 20-25 minutes. Remove lid, baste and roast uncovered for about 8 -10 more minutes until chicken is golden brown. Remove from oven and let chicken rest for about 10 minutes. Place bird on serving platter, garnish with finishing touches of citrus zest, cilantro, cracked black pepper and lime and orange slices. Serve with your favorite salad and sides.
An option to one pan cooking is to saute onions and peppers in your Dutch oven OR if you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can sauté and roast your chicken in a deep cast iron pan and tent with foil if you don’t have a lid. I just chose to saute separately for some reason …
We enjoyed this meal with a glass of Rioja. Red or white works!
We had left over chicken so made some fabulous wraps the next day slicing the chicken and assembling on big tortillas with turmeric basmati rice, the cooked onions and peppers, mint and chives, organic spring greens, finely cut cabbage for crunch, spicy capers and a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette. I also used all the chicken bones and made a chicken stock for soup that was served with our wraps. We had lots of food in the fridge, so it was a really light, brothy catch-all soup! Rotini pasta, sautéed aromatics (garlic, onion, shallot), peas, sautéed yellow bell pepper, fresh herbs, lemon, and some of the juices from the Dutch oven. Delicious!