Friday, July 11, 2014

Cooking with Dr. Monkey

Today's episode: Cuban style pot roasted chicken.

I started out by mixing up the 'bitter citrus' marinade for the chicken.  The marinade consisted of the juice of one orange and two limes mixed with some cracked black pepper.
After mixing the juice and pepper, I crushed together a whole clove of garlic and two teaspoons of sea salt and I mixed that in my marinade.

Then I cut a whole chicken so it would lay flat in a 9 x 13 baking pan and I poured my marinade over it.  I let it soak in the citrus garlic marinade for a couple of hours in the fridge.  I turned it after about one hour so the marinade got on both sides of the chicken.

After a couple of hours in the marinade I heated up two tablespoons of olive oil in my heavy Dutch oven style pot and I browned the chicken.
While the chicken was browning I cut one large onion into thick slices and one green bell pepper in to thick slices as well.
Once the chicken, which by now I had cut up so it would fit properly in my Dutch oven, had browned sufficiently, I began cooking the onions and pepper in my pot.
After the vegetables had softened and the onions began turning a little golden, I put the chicken, the rest of the marinade, and one cup of dry white wine in the pot and let it simmer for about an hour.  I took the lid off after half an hour so some of the liquid would cook off.
After an hour I took out the chicken and poured the liquid and the veggies in my food processor.  I pulsed them together and poured that mixture back in pot and I put the cut up cooked chicken back in the pot as well.
I let it simmer in lowish heat for another 30 minutes to let some more of the liquid cook off and to let the sauce thicken up a bit.  Once it was done I served it over Basmati rice and we had tomato slices and flat bread on the side.

The verdict:  tasty but kind of disappointingly bland.

Would I cook it again?  Since there are so many other good chicken recipes out there, probably not but if I did I'd do the following differently:

  • I'd add more spices to the dish, like more salt, more pepper, some cumin, and cayenne pepper.
  • I'd use already cut up chicken instead of a whole chicken that I had to cut up along the way.  
  • I'd use less liquid in the cooking process because in the end the chicken didn't seem pot roasted, it seemed like it had been stewed.
  • I'd add different kinds of more flavorful peppers, like pablano, serrano, and jalapeno. 
  • I'd scoop the garlic out of the marinade and brown it before I added it to the chicken and veggies.  
I like Cuban food, I find it to be flavorful and quite delicious but this dish which I found in the Gran Cocina Latina cookbook to be a disappointment.  

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