This coming Thursday is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army defeating the French in the battle of Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day. That is September 16. To many on this side of the Rio Grande, it is a great excuse to eat Mexican food. Mojo is a term used for several sauces, depending on the region you are in. It originated in Canary Islands where it consists primarily of Olive Oil and chili peppers. For this recipe I chose the Cuban version of Mojo. In Cuba, Mojo is often made with juice from sour oranges and used as a marinade for chicken (or pork).
Making Mojo at Home
For this recipe I decided to go with my favorite handheld food format, the taco. As sour oranges can be hard to find, I approximated that flavor by spiking regular orange juice with lime juice. Being kosher, I went with chicken for my protein, but if that is not something you are worried about you could go with a roasted pork loin or pulled pork shoulder (AKA pork butt).
A word of caution about using acidic marinades or tender meats like chicken: Don’t let the chicken marinate more than three hours. Two hours would probably be ideal. If you leave the chicken in the mojo marinade to long the acid will begin to “cook” it. (And by cook I mean denature the protein, but let’s not get too technical.) You could end up with a gross, mushy texture. I recommend serving these with pickled onions and pico de gallo, but feel free to top your tacos as you see fit.
What is your favorite Mexican dish? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out some of our other Mexican recipes:
Chicken tacos with a little Cuban flare
- 2 Cup Orange Juice
- ½ Cup Lime Juice
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
- 1 Medium Onion Finel Chopped
- 1 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes Optional
- 1 lb Whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- Salt To taste
- Pepper To taste
- Cumin To taste
- Smoked Paprika To taste
- 6 Small Street Taco Sized Tortillas
- Pico de Gallo For topping your taco
- Pickled Red Onions For topping your taco
In a medium sauce pot combine the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, onion, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Place over medium heat and bring to simmer until the the sugar is dissolved. Place in the fridge until cool to the touch.
Add your whole boneless chicken breast to the marinade and place back in the fridge for two hours. Do not marinate the chicken for too long as the acid from the juices will begin to "cook" the chicken.
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season with the salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin to taste
Heat up your grill or grill pan over high heat. Cook your chicken breasts, about four minute on each side.
Slice your chicken into bite sized pieces and add to your tortillas. Top with pico de gallo and pickled onions and serve.
A fresh salsa that is quick and easy to make. It is great for brightening up a dish by bringing a pop of acid.
- 3 Plum Tomatoes Diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Small Red Onion Diced
- 1 Small White Onion Diced
- 1 Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro Substitute with parsley if you don't like cilantro
- 1 Jalapeno Diced, optional
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Let chill in the refrigerator for an hour for the flavors to come together before serving.
This is a quick recipe when you need a topping to add some acidity to a dish. It goes well on tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers, and can even be used in a salad.
- 2 Large Red Onions Sliced Thin
- 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Pickling Spice You can get this from the store, or come up with your own blend.
Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to cool and use to top tacos, burgers, or hot dogs.