Spice Up Your Labor Day With Mojito Chicken

I grew up in the South. For some reason, we like to drench our food in cream soups.  My idea of making chicken was a standard chicken and rice casserole with 2 cans of cream soup mixed with some Minute Rice. I rarely cooked meat because I didn’t really know how. I always gravitated towards baking anyway.  My husband changed all that for me.

I met my husband at our dietetic internship in Lexington, Kentucky. He is originally from Puerto Rico, but mainly grew up in Alabama. He is an excellent cook! It’s one of the many reasons I love him. However, he says I had weak meat preparation skills. What he means is that I don’t season it as well as I could or let it marinate long enough to provide the right flavors for the meat. For someone who didn’t grow up seasoning meat, I appreciate his help. Although, this totally brings out my competitive nature. So for the last three years, I have made it my mission to find really great recipes with rubs and marinades. Now, my hubby is very happy with my meat prep especially with this particular recipe.

One of my favorite rubs and marinades is Mojito Chicken by Guy Fieri of the Food Network. It has all the flavors this family loves. Mojo is a staple in our kitchen. Certainly, I have my own shortcuts and additions that I will share. I did find this intimidating at first with 3 parts but it’s easier than it appears. I highly recommend this recipe and hope you find it enticing as well. You might find yourself making a Mojito cocktail to go with it! Enjoy!

Mojito Chicken

1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb. chicken) – I use a 2-3 lb. pack of leg quarters

2 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. paprika

Marinade (recipe below)

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Mojito Glaze (recipe below)

Combine all the dry spices. I actually keep this rub on hand now.

If you are using a whole chicken, remove the backbone with poultry shears and flatten out the chicken so it sits evenly in the pan. I just use the chicken quarters so no prep is needed. Rub chicken with spice mixture, especially under the skin. Put in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I usually do this earlier in the day. You could do this step overnight.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add marinade to chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can do this step around lunch time or as soon as you get home if the rub step is complete. In a pinch, you could be Goya’s premixed Mojo marinade but I prefer the fresh.

Marinade:

1 cup of orange juice

2 limes, juiced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. sliced garlic

1/4 cup dark rum

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees for the whole chicken. I preheat to 350 for the leg quarters.

Remove chicken from marinade. Set marinade to the side. In a large saute pan or skillet over medium to high heat, add 4 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil. When oil is hot, sear chicken skin side down. When skin is golden brown, flip it and add 1/2 cup of marinade to the pan. (I usually put my chicken in a Pyrex dish and add the marinade since my saute pan is not oven safe. Sometimes I add more marinade 3/4 – 1 cup)

Guy cooks his flattened chicken for 25 minutes at 300 degrees or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. My leg quarters take longer. I cook mine at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until they reach 165 degrees F.

When chicken is done, remove it from the oven and brush it with the glaze provided below. Place chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, cut, and serve with more glaze if desired.

While the chicken is cooking, you can make the glaze.

Mojito Glaze:

1/2 cup dark rum

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

3 Tbsp. cold water

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 chopped mint leaves (I use cilantro)

Salt & pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, place rum, broth, and brown sugar. Reduce by 1/3 over high heat. In a small cup or bowl, whisk water and cornstarch together. When rum is reduced, add cornstarch mixture slowly to simmering liquid. Whisk until 50% thicker. Add mint or cilantro leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: You can cut back on the salt in this recipe if you are watching your salt intake.

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Categories: Recipes

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