Peruvian Chicken & Cuban Rice = Heaven!

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These recipes literally will make the top 10 recipes of this SD year!  They are both so flavorful & easy.  There’s quite a bit of prep work in the beginning, but then you stick them in the oven & forget about it for a couple of hours…and…Viola!  You have an oustanding dinner ready!  Both recipes are adapted from the March & April 2011 edition of Cook’s Magazine.
Peruvian Chicken
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. grated lime zest
1/2 tsp. red pepper chili flakes (or if you’re feeling frisky, use cayenne pepper instead)
1 3-4 lb. whole chicken
In a small prep bowl, whisk oil, salt, garlic, pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, lime zest, and chilis together until well incorporated.  Loosen the skin over the breast & thighs of the chicken (without ripping it), and “paint” the mixture onto the chicken itself (under the skin).  With a small amount of the leftover marinade, brush it over the intact skin.  (If you want to do this step ahead of time, refrigerate the chicken for 6-24 hours ahead of time.)
Adjust oven racks to lowest setting & heat oven to 325 degrees.  Place a vertical chicken roaster on a baking dish (to catch the drippings).  Roast until chicken turns golden brown, about 50 minutes.  Remove from the oven & add 1 cup of water to pan.  Turn oven up to 500 degress.
When the oven is ready, return the bird & pan to the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the skin is dark & crispy (175 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh on a meat thermometer).  May need to add more water to the pan to keep the chicken drippings from smoking.
Take the chicken out of the oven & let it rest for 20 minutes.  Carve chicken!
Cuban Rice
1 c. dried black beans
3 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 large green bell pepper, halved
1 large onion, halved
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 c. long grain brown rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 medium scallions, sliced thin
1 lime
Wash beans, removing any marred or broken beans.  Add beans, water, 1/2 of the bell pepper, 1/2 of the onion, 2 garlic cloves, bay leaves, and salt.  Set to a high setting to cook for 4 hours, or to a low setting if you want to cook the beans slowly all day (recommended).  When done, drain & rinse beans, reserving 2 1/2 c. of the liquid to the side.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large dutch oven or casserole dish with a tight lid, add rice, diced remaining peppers and onions, oil, cumin, vinegar, scallions, beans, reserved bean liquid, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Stir & cover with lid; bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until liquid is absorded and rice is fluffy!
Right before serving, squeeze several lime wedges over the rice for extra flavor!
 Incredible dinner!  Lots of garlic and a very similar flavor profile make them the perfect compliment to each other!  We were so pumped to have these recipes!
We’ve tried some interesting wines lately, too, which deserve mentioning.  Have you heard of Clif Bars?  They have a winery!  We had no clue how this wine would turn out- I mean, they make power bars or whatever…could they actually also make a decent wine??  We kinda thought so!  It was $14 a bottle, and we got a 2005 blended red.  It wasn’t a very complex wine, but it was very, very smooth and straightforward.  I figure that with time, the vines will age & become more complex, yeilding even better wines.  Not a bad one to keep an eye on!  We’ve just recently picked up several good bottles of wine, so hopefully more to come…
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