A Cuban-Inspired Mojo Roasted Chicken
Claire Thomas of The Kitchy Kitchen introduces us to an orange juice-marinated Cuban recipe that's gloriously good.
Almost every culture has a food elixir. It's the stuff of magic—the subtle combination of flavors that every home cook tweaks into perfection and has to be made just so. In Cuba, it's mojo, a mix of Seville orange juice (sour or bitter oranges), onion, and oregano. Most popularly, it's the marinade used on pork that gets sandwiched in a crusty roll with mustard, swiss, and pickles, also known as a Cubano. It's glorious. Today I'm using it as the base for my roast chicken, but you could just as easily braise pork shoulder in it, grill the chicken instead, or marinade and sauté shrimp in it. Basically any white meat will go fabulously with it, in practically any application. The marinade smells heavenly, and it'll become a kitchen staple for you too, I promise.
NOTE: If you have access to Seville oranges, lucky you! Use all Seville orange juice instead of the the blend of citrus juices below.
1 head garlic, cloves removed and peeled (about 11 cloves)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoons oregano leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 whole fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks)
1 orange, cut into 3 pieces crosswise
Combine the garlic, salt and pepper, citrus juice, onion, and oregano in a blender. Blend until well puréed. In a saucepan, heat olive oil until pretty warm and remove from heat. Carefully pour it into the orange mixture, and blend to combine. Let the marinade sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. When ready, pour over the chicken pieces (I just did this in a freezer bag).
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. Strain and transfer the chicken to a large shallow heavy baking pan (I used a 13 x 9 oval baking pan, which was a little snug), save the mojo for glazing in the last few minutes. Bake chicken 10 minutes, then add orange pieces to pan. Continue to bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more, glazing the chicken with reserved mojo 5 minutes before it's done. For extra crispiness, crank up the oven to broil and broil for 1 or 2 minutes at the very end.
For more delicious recipes from Claire, head to The Kitchy Kitchen.