This week I’m trying out a recipe for Cuban Mojo Chicken. I love mojo pork roast, so why not try it as chicken, amirite? Roast chicken makes an impressive main course and it costs about the same as a package of 2-3 boneless, skinless breast halves. Yes, it takes longer to cook and you have to carve it but that little bit of effort sure pays off.
When I roast a chicken I like to serve the breasts for dinner one night and use the thighs and drumsticks for chicken soup for the next day or two. I even use the leftover bones to make homemade chicken stock. Then I divide the stock into two- to four-cup portions and freeze them for later use. I like to make my pennies count, and it makes stock that’s better than boxed or instant, if I do say so myself.
This Cuban Mojo Chicken is infused with a flavorful Mojo marinade made with citrus, garlic and spices, then oven roasted until golden brown, juicy and tender! This mouthwatering Mojo Chicken is perfect for dinner any day of the week and also fabulous for company!
Okay, so my little rant has established the need for a whole chicken, but there is obviously more to this recipe. Cuban mojo has many variations, but it’s a mixture of citrus, garlic, herbs, and oil. This version uses regular oranges and limes to mimic the flavor of harder-to-find sour oranges. I also had to buy a bunch of fresh cilantro, and that was it.
Tip: The marinade took 2 oranges, 1.5 limes, 1 head of garlic, and about 1/2 of a bunch of cilantro.
I had everything else in my pantry and even had butter in the refrigerator. The recipe does give the option of using olive oil, but I chose butter. I was curious how it would affect the taste, and I knew it would help the chicken bake to a golden brown.
No, roast chicken isn’t quick, but it’s mostly hands-off time. In fact, only 23 minutes was active time. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 20 minutes to prep the marinade
- 3 minutes to tie the chicken
- 1 hour 16 minutes to roast
- 10 minutes to rest
- 1 hour 49 minutes total (marinating overnight not included)
This recipe lists 15 minutes for prep, 1 hour 15 minutes to cook, for a total of 1 hour 30 minutes. My time was slightly over that with most of the slowdown in my prep work.
Marinating the Cuban Mojo Chicken
This recipe requires the chicken to be marinated for 4-24 hours, so I chose the longest option. The flavor payoff is worth the wait! So on day one I rinsed the chicken and prepped the marinade. The whole process was straightforward and took me about 20 minutes of juicing, zesting, and chopping.
The instructions say to marinate the chicken in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, but the notes mention using a large bag. I have used this method many times, and it’s great! I used a slow cooker liner I had in my pantry. I always forget to line the slow cooker when I make pot roast, but that worked in my favor.
I lined a medium mixing bowl with the bag, added the chicken, and poured in the marinade (I had mixed it separately). Tip: Place the chicken breast-side down to get the most flavor into the meat. I flipped my chicken after I took the photo, tied up the bag with a twist tie (saved from the cilantro bunch), and popped the bowl into the refrigerator.
Roasting the Cuban Mojo Chicken
I was so ready for this chicken the next day, but I didn’t want to drag out my giant roasting pan. Instead, I went back through the blog post and noticed a comment about using a Dutch oven instead. Tip: The chicken fit nicely into my 5.5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, no lid needed. Perfect!
After tying the legs with twine and tucking the wings, it was into the oven for 1 hour. Then I added a meat thermometer to the thigh and left it continue roasting. It took another 16 minutes to reach 165℉. After a 10-minute rest I had a beautiful roasted golden brown chicken ready to carve up and serve.