32 – Grilled Mojo Chicken

******************Post was updated 03/27/2015*******************

Currently on Spring Break and mere days from my honeymoon in Cuba, I should be full swing into a bit of Spring cleaning, a bit of cooking/blogging, and a lot of relaxing. I should be…but that is by no means the case. Sadly, I’ve spent at least a few hours each day this workweek in my empty, non air-conditioned classroom, catching up on marking. Had I not cooked up and blogged about 30 new recipes in less than three months, that probably wouldn’t have been the case.

Oh well, I guess the good things in life are worth the sacrifices we have to make to accommodate them.

Knowing the end was within sight (I finished my marking after a marathon four-hour session at the school today), I tackled an exciting new recipe last night. As faithful readers of my blog know (i.e. my mother and mother-in-law), I’ve recently made a couple of recipes my wife wasn’t a big fan of. Stating that on this blog, I think I gave off the impression that she’s picky and unadventurous when it comes to food. Ha! I laugh at the thought! She’s constantly pushing me to try foods I’m hesitant about, attempting to expand my horizons. That being said, after two less-than-stellar dishes from a single chef’s recipe books (to remain nameless), my wife decided she was picking out the night’s recipe.

Such a team, we are – she picks the recipe, and I make it for us. If it turns out well, she takes all the credit, of course. With a dish like last night’s, it’s understandable that she’d want all the glory, because it was super delicious.

The recipe comes from a book called “Gastro Grilling“, which I was gifted with for Christmas, and has been awaiting nicer barbecuing weather. Drawn to by the fact that it’s a Cuban-inspired dish, Mateja was very adamant that “Grilled Mojo Chicken” would be on the night’s menu.

The recipe isn’t posted online, and I tweaked the it a bit (intentionally and otherwise), so here is the gist of my version of Grilled Mojo Chicken:

1. Cut a 3 lb chicken in half, removing the backbone

2. Marinate the chicken in a Ziplock freezer bag filled with half of the following (the other half being reserved for basting):

– juice from 4 large navel oranges (the original recipe called for 6)

– juice from 4 limes

– juice from 1 lemon (I was forced to use Realemon this time)

– approximately 3 garlic bulbs, minced

1 tbsp. dried oregano (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, fresh)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

a pinch of ground cinnamon

rinds of the oranges and limes that were left over

1 tsp. sea salt (Kosher was suggested, but not readily available)

DSC_1051
Chicken, cut in half and marinating.

*the original recipe called for 1/4 cup of spiced rum as well, and I’m only realizing my accidental omission now as I write this. I guess that means I’ll have to try this recipe again soon*

3. After marinating the meat for at least an hour (24 hours was suggested, but we only had time for about 1 1/2 hours, during which we took a quick jog around the block), remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.

DSC_1052
The leftover marinade, newly transformed into a baste with the addition of some sweet, sweet honey.

4. Add 2 tbsp. honey (I used local stuff from Chilliwack River Valley Natural Honey) to the half of the marinade that you set aside for basting (original recipe called for 4 tbsp.), whisk, and set aside.

This is where I need to stop my instructions, because it sort of fell apart from there. The grilling instructions were meant for a charcoal grill that doesn’t die partway through the cooking process, whereas I have a gas barbecue that does (it ran out of propane). The gist of the matter is that you cook the chicken, and baste only on the cavity side (to ensure the skin side is nice and crispy, I think). I had to finish mine off in the oven after the bbq died, so I lost the crispness (but also any chance at salmonella).

DSC_1054
Just hitting the grill. If you look closely, you can see that I did an absolutely terrible job removing the backbone of the bird, making it so that the only thing connected the breast and wing to the leg is some skin that eventually ripped.
DSC_1058
Before the grill conked out on me. As you can probably tell, my poor wife has to wait until after 10pm to eat dinner, as I was barbecuing well after dark (and even after that, I still needed some time with it in the oven).
DSC_1069
I put my basting mixture in the most Latin-inspired vessel my kitchen had to offer: my Guadalajara Starbucks mug from a past mission’s trip.

Regardless of the omissions (I may have forgotten the rum, but I sure enjoyed some wine with dinner) and the mishaps, the result was delicious. We served it with couscous cooked in organic chicken broth (to which I spiced mine up with Sriracha), and a simple salad that my wife made.

grilled mojo chicken

Based on just this first recipe, I know there will be many tasty meals to come from this exciting new cookbook. I also know that if this is the sort of norm down in Cuba, then I’ll be quite satisfied nourishment-wise while down there.

Anyways, until next time – happy cooking!

***********************Update (03/05/2015)***********************

This recipe wasn’t originally going to be my weekly submission to Fiesta Friday, Angie @ The Novice Gardener’s weekly celebration of the weekend’s arrival, but: (a) I’ve been too busy this week to cook AND blog, and (b) if I did have the time to cook tonight, I’d be making this dish again (with the rum as well, obviously) as it was so delicious. So yeah…Happy Fiesta Friday!

This week’s co-hosts are Selma @Selma’s Table and Margy @La Petite Casserole. If you get a chance, make sure to check out their blogs as well, as Angie has great taste in who she asks to help co-host each week.

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18 thoughts on “32 – Grilled Mojo Chicken

    1. Actually, I usually make her relax with a glass of wine while I cook, because I like my space in the kitchen, and I take a bit too much pride in doing it all myself 😉 I need to learn to let her help more, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Despite your running out of propane, it looks like the chicken turned out just brilliant! The color looks gorgeous, and the flavors sound wonderful, will definitely be trying this. Enjoy your honeymoon, very soon we’ll be able to travel to Cuba :))

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    1. Thanks, Loretta. I’ll definitely be trying it again as well, with a full tank of propane and some Cuban spiced rum. When Americans are finally permitted travel there without special visas, I would make sure to go quickly, as who knows how much will change once the embargoes are gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree J. Seaton, I lived in Canada and was a Canadian citizen once, but gave it up for US status. A lot of my friends back in Canada tell me I could fly from Canada, but I do not wish to take the risk until it is all said and done :).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yum! I love the ingredients in the marinade! Can’t wait to try this as soon as we break out the grill (and of course, check the propane, haha!) 🙂

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      1. I agree! We’ve had evenings where we were stuck grilling after dark because of it. Neighbors probably thought we were idiots, out there after dark with a spotlight grilling, hahaha.

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  3. Sounds like you are having a wonderful honeymoon despite running out of gas as you were still able to produce a really gorgeous looking bird! Love the sound of that marinade – really sharp and citrussy – will give this a go when the weather warms up and I have a full bottle of propane!! Thanks for sharing this with us at Fiesta Friday!

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