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5/6/2008

Pan-Caribbean Dinner: Mojito Chicken et al

Filed under: — Melissa @ 6:00 pm

On Sunday I promised I would write up the proceedings from the Caribbean-themed dinner I made. I started with a recipe from the Food Network for Mojito Chicken, which I modified ever so slightly: I added a habanero pepper to the marinade, and I grilled it instead of searing on the stove and finishing in the oven. I still think it was tasty, so here you go:

Mojito Chicken (courtesy of Guy Fieri @ foodnetwork.com)

1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) chicken: Note, I used two packages of leg-thigh combos for a total of about 6 chicken leg quarters.

Spice Rub:
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Marinade:
1 cup orange juice
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
1/4 cup dark rum
1 habanero pepper, seeds removed, diced

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.

Mojito Glaze:
Mojito Glaze:
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In medium sauce pan, place rum, chicken broth and brown sugar. Reduce by 1/3 over high heat. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. When rum mixture is reduced, add cornstarch mixture slowly to simmering liquid and whisk for 3 minutes, until 50 percent thicker. When glaze is at desired thickness, add mint leaves and transfer to small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

The process:
Prepare the spice rub. Rub all over chicken, including under the skin. Place in a ziplock back in the fridge for 30 minutes. While this is chilling in the fridge, prepare the marinade. Add the marinade to the bag and return to the refridgerator for at least 1 hour (I let it go for about 3).

Preheat your grill to low and remove your chicken from the bag. Drain off most of the marinade so the meat does not burn on the grill. Cook over low/somewhat indirect heat for 45 minutes, turning once mid-way through cooking. If you use smaller pieces or boneless breasts, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly (i.e. shorten it). I used a meat thermometer to make sure everything was safe when I pulled it off.

Once the chicken is on the grill, prepare the glaze as directed above. When the chicken is nearly done, brush each side with the glaze and allow it to simply warm. Remove from the heat and serve.

Our second dish was Coconut Rice. I took a basic recipe from a Caribbean cookbook I have and modified it a bit because I didn’t have enough coconut milk on hand.

Ingredients:
approx. 3/4 cup long grain rice (I used Jasmine)
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk – not coconut cream or coco lopez. You want the stuff they sell for making Thai curries and the like.
1/2 can of chicken broth (the recipe called for 3 cans of coconut milk and slightly more rice; I modified it by adding this broth I had opened to make the chicken glaze and it turned out fine).
1 T kosher salt
1 T butter/margarine

Bring the coconut milk and broth to a boil in a pot with a good lid. Allow to simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the liquid reduces a bit. Add the rice and cover, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally, but not so much you let out all of the steam (once every 5 minutes is enough). Turn off heat and leave covered until ready to serve, about 10 minutes.

The side dish was Fried Plantains.
2 ripe plantains, cut in half and then chunks
canola oil

In a heavy pan, heat about 1″ of canola oil. Once hot, add your pieces of plantain. Turn as they begin to turn golden brown. When both sides look done, remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt to taste.

Finally, we served up the meal with a couple of rummy drinks. This is my best recollection of the recipe:

1 part Bacardi
1 part Malibu
1/2 part Myers’s Dark Rum
1/3 part Creme de Banana
splash of grenadine
Fill with equal parts orange juice and pineapple juice (about 2 oz each)

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and pour all contents into a tall glass. Sip and enjoy!

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