Recipe: $16.97 | Per Serving: $2.12 | Yield: 8
Cuban Cilantro Orange Chicken! It’s so flavorful and so fresh and not that much work and I absolutely recommend it. Serve it with roasted bell peppers and a big batch of Cuban Black Beans, and maybe some rice or fried plantains (!!).
This recipe doesn’t take very long to put together, and is inspired by an old Cuban Chicken recipe I used to make with my friend Kim at Get Fresh SD, so I can’t take much of the credit for this one. Thanks, Kim!
You’re basically going to blitz together a sauce, pour some of it over the chicken to marinade, pour some of it over the bell peppers (and optional zucchini) for roasting, and save the rest for topping when it’s time to serve. Everything gets roasted in the oven and you can go about your business as it comes together. If you’re feeling ambitious, make some fried plantains, or double batch the sauce and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays to save for later. Look at how green and pretty!
Update in the loose plans for going to Cuba: still on the fence right now. Zac listened to some story on NPR (or maybe he read an article, I can’t remember) about how inflation in Cuba has increased hotels to $600 a night and that now it’s just too expensive to go there, even though most Americans aren’t going there yada yada. So that’s a CON. Within a week of that, a couple I know left for their trip to Cuba and they totally loved it and flew Southwest and did not report any significant issues. So that’s a PLUS.
Also Zac just started a new job so he can’t go until late summer rather than spring time, and I am not really supposed to take vacation time in late summer, but that’s my only longish break from school. So that’s a CON. Basically planning this trip is kind of a pain in the butt, yet I think most things that are worth it are kind of a pain in the butt. So I think we’re going to go.
Mostly I think that because I want to go and other things seem less important compared to how much I’m itching to travel because…as of March 1st we will have had our feet firmly planted in America for a full year and watched it kind of fall apart all while working too much and sleeping too little. I like America and all, but sometimes I need a break to remember that the U.S. is not the entire universe and there are other ways of living life aside from the daily grind. I think this will be my longest time on U.S. soil in 5 years! Do I even know where my passport is?? (Full disclosure, when typing that I had to pause and ask Zac if he knew where our passports were because actually, no, I did not know where my passport was.)
So that’s what’s happening over here with all the Cuban-inspired food. Itchy feet!
Paleo: Yes, without rice or beans.
Vegetarian: No, but you could still make the sauce and the vegetables and serve it with Cuban Black Beans and it would be totally vegan.
- For the Sauce:
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño (optional), stem removed
- 1 bunch cilantro (3-4 cups)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1-3 oranges)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- For the Chicken:
- 2 pounds chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
- For the Peppers:
- 2 pounds, about 4-5, bell peppers (sweet are best, but a green one is good too)
- optional: 1 pound zucchini (to bulk up the veg content)
- For the Sauce: Cut the jalapeño into chunks, removing ribs and seeds if desired. Combine the garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the orange juice, spices, and olive oil and blend just until well combined.
- For the Chicken: Spread the chicken out in a large casserole dish and lightly salt both sides. Cover with about ⅓ - ½ a cup of the sauce, moving the chicken around to make sure you get the tops and bottoms. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes, or up to two hours. (If you marinate chicken in a citrus marinade for too long, it might start to “cook” the chicken and it will turn out tough. 2 hours is usually the max.)
- *Depending on your oven, now is probably a good time to preheat it to 425.
- For the peppers: remove the seeds and stems and chop into 1-inch bite-sized pieces. Toss with about ¼ cup of the sauce and spread out on a large silicone-lined baking sheet. (Combine with chopped zucchini before roasting if desired.)
- When the oven is to temp and the chicken has been marinating at least 20 minutes, place both the chicken and the peppers in the oven. The chicken should take about 18 minutes, and the peppers will take about 20. Feel free to use a meat thermometer to check the chicken temperature to be sure. (You could probably roast these all together in one dish if you want to save on dishes!)