Recipe: Mojo Chicken with Black Beans and Cauliflower Rice

Alright, y’all.  This truly is my go to meal.  It’s quick, easy, flavorful, and requires one pan.  And you know I’m all about not having dishes to clean.  This is the food I grew up eating and the first thing I remember cooking with my mom.  Until now I’d never actually written a recipe down, but some of my friends wanted my kitchen ideas so I did the work.  Because I love you guys.

I will start this off by talking about the elephant in the room: cauliflower rice.  No, this is not what I grew up eating.  I grew up on long grain white rice and I love it and it’s amazing and it’s why I have hips.  White rice is not, however, the optimal food to eat when trying to slim down.  I am currently counting my macros so a meal with a great big carb load isn’t doing me much good.  I turn today to cauliflower rice.  I have never tried it, I’ve heard great things, we’re going on a journey together.  Also, I totally would have made my own cauliflower rice, BUT I killed my food processor so frozen it is especially since I had a coupon.

I gotta say, making this stuff in the microwave was MUCH easier than cooking rice on the stove and worrying about it and taking the lid off and ruining it and all the drama that rice brings.  Can’t tell you how many times I got my hand smacked for trying to take the lid off a pot of rice.  Oh, childhood memories.  So yes, 5-6 minutes in the microwave was quite the vacation for me.
cuban ingredients
A big part of this recipe, and all my Latin cooking, is mojo marinade.  While living in Florida and DC I was able to find this glorious mixture in the international food aisle at my standard grocery store.  Indiana is not quite the same.  If you have similar trouble you can check Walmart as they usually have a more substantial international aisle OR you can try a local Latin grocery.  I’ve begun frequenting one close to my home because it has all my beloved Goya products and they sell warm bread at the cash register which I don’t see Kroger starting up any time soon.  Mine is also attached to a Mexican restaurant for quick bites before cooking my own food at home.
This marinade is citrus based and includes all the yummy spices you need.  It is great as a marinade for chicken, pork, or fish or as a spice addition to most foods you’re cooking.  I use it in my black beans (which you’ll see soon), when sauteing vegetables, and when boiling shrimp.  It’s just a great multipurpose flavor powerhouse.  And before you ask, IT IS NOT SPICY.  My food is not spicy.  Most cuban food is not spicy.  Okay?  Okay.
This recipe starts with chicken thighs.  You could easily use chicken breasts, but I love dark meat and I got a great deal on these.  I marinate the chicken overnight with mojo in a Ziploc bag.  I try to make sure to turn it over at some point just so every part of the chicken gets covered.  I used my big saute pan for this recipe because I can cook everything in it and never need another one.  Huge plus.  On medium heat I cook the thighs with a bit of olive oil until their cooked through.  That was about 10-12 minutes for me.  I’m really bad at figuring out cooking times for meat on the stove.  That’s why my chicken ended up shredded – I needed to cut into it to see if it was done.  I never claimed I was a professional, okay?  Anyway, I shredded mine and threw it back in to finish cooking.  I happened to be drinking some pinot grigio so that was thrown in as well and it made a great sauce.  I highly suggest using this trick.  Drinking beer?  That could work too.
Once the chicken was all done and wrapped in tin foil to keep warm I started on my sauteed onions and peppers.  I simply sliced up a good amount of green pepper and sweet onion and threw them into the same pan with all the good bits of chicken stuck to the pan.  I added a drop of olive oil to prevent sticking and then a few tablespoons of mojo to help the veggies cook down.  After a few minutes I added in 2 cloves of sliced garlic (a little late to prevent burning), 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and salt & pepper.  I let the whole pot saute on medium low so that the peppers and onions could almost caramelize.  I didn’t want them to lose their structure completely so I took them off the heat after about 15 minutes.  Throughout the whole thing I kept the pot moving to keep anything from burning as I like my peppers and onions soft not charred.
I really cannot describe how freakin good this made my kitchen smell.  I wish I could share that part with you.  It was absolutely heavenly and totally torturous because I didn’t eat any of this food.  I tasted along the way for seasoning and then packed it all away for meals throughout the week.  It was so so sad.  I had a protein shake for dinner instead you guys.  Ugh.
Once my big veggies were put aside, I added my chopped peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan with more olive oil.  I let these soften and then added 1 can of black beans and 1 can of black bean soup.  According to mom this combination gives you the perfect consistency of black beans.  I have never countered this argument and do not plan on it.  To the black beans I add 3 tablespoons mojo, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and 2 whole bay leaves.  I turned the heat down a bit and covered the mixture, allowing it to simmer for 10 minutes or so.  I taste test to see if it requires salt or pepper which is usually does and then let it cook for a bit longer.  I usually want them in there for at least 15 minutes if not a bit longer to let all the flavors get together.  Don’t forget to remove the bar leaves before eating!
And that’s really it for all of the actual work.  The cauliflower rice was easy enough as I simply followed the instructions on the package and used my handy dandy microwave.  I split up the food into Tupperware and stuck it in the fridge until needed.  I used 3 chicken thighs and so made up 3 meals.  These amounts + a 4th chicken thigh could have easily made 4 meals so take that into account when you see the nutritional information.  Yes, there is still a high carbohydrate count, but it’s coming from beans and vegetables.  Black beans are high in fiber, iron, calcium, and potassium so I’ll always be pro-bean even with the carbs (no paleo for this girl).
Who doesn’t want to see all this flavorful goodness after a rough morning at the office?  I am literally eating one right now on my lunch break.  Yum.  Like really guys, it’s so good.  I can barely tell it isn’t real rice.  That’s a lie.  I can tell.  But I’m not mad about it and I’m already full.
Enjoy!

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