Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cuban-Spiced Chicken Breasts with Chorizo and Rice

When my best friend and I went to Florida for her 25th birthday last year, we had dinner at Larios on the Beach, a delicious Cuban restaurant on Ocean Drive in South Beach. The decor draws inspiration from 1950s Old Havana and the food follows suit, complimented by sangria and mojitos. It was the first time me or my friend had tried authentic Cuban and we fell in love.

The following recipe comes from Bon Appetit (January 2007) and originally called for thighs. It's a little bit time-intensive (as the chicken needs to marinade at least four hours), but after that, it's straight-forward and leaves the house smelling great!


  • 1/4 C fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro stems
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lime peel
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped seeded jalapeno chile
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 10 chicken thighs with skin and bone (about 4 1/2 lbs) OR about 4 lbs of chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 lb fully cooked Spanish chorizo (or Italian sausage), cut into 1/4"-thick rounds **After making this for a family of spice-loving people, we've all agreed a whole pound would be best. Just saying.**
  • 2 C finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 C chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 C arborio rice (or short-grain white rice)
  • 2 1/2 C (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads (I still haven't found these ...)
  • 1 canned piquillo pepper OR 1 whole canned pimiento pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 C coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges
  1. Whisk first 11 ingredients in medium bowl for marinade. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag; turn several times to coat chicken. Refrigerate chicken for at least four hours and up to 1 day, turning bag occasionally. Using tongs, transfer chicken from bag to plate, allowing excess marinade to drip back into bag. Reserve marinade.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in heavy large wide pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and saute until beginning to brown and fat begins to render, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to medium bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Add half of chicken, skin side down, to pot. Saute until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  3. Pour off all but 3 tbsp fat from pot, discard excess fat. Add chopped onions; saute 4 minutes, scrapping up any browned bits. Add chopped bell pepper and chopped garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Mix in rice, stirring to blend with vegetables. Add 2 1/2 C broth, tomatoes with any juice, paprika, saffron, and reserved marinade. Bring to boil, stirring to blend. Return chicken, chorizo, and any accumulated juices to pot, pressing chicken into rice.

  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Arrange piquillo pepper strips over chicken pieces. Cover and continue to simmer until rice is tender and chicken in cooked through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if rice is dry, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Transfer rice and chicken to large shallow bowl. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve. 
Et voila!


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  2. What the heck is this spam from souzachicken? Ridiculous. I wish I could have tasted that great looking dish! The guys at work said they were jealous too.

  3. Got to love spam. I got one once through someones XBOX. LoL This sounds delicious, minus the cilantro. Perfect for my situation now with only being able to cook stove top dishes.