Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

This recipe came out of missing the goodness that is Trader Joe’s grab-n-go food. DH stumbled upon a roundup of the top go-tos for nutritionists somewhere on the Internets, and thought a few of the dishes sounded great – too bad we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby.

I was sure I could create something that tasted at least good from the description. Probably isn’t what their version tastes like, but good nonetheless. We also didn’t know at the time, but we have been sorely missing Cuban food. Semi-passable Mexican is hard enough to find here; Cuban is impossible.

This recipe also uses cocktails in place of the bitter or sour orange featured heavily in Cuban meat marinades – I think it worked out pretty well, but were I to make this again, I’d maybe slip a teaspoon or two in after cooking to add a little bitter punch to the dish. I don’t think it would taste *quite* the same, but it will at least give that element that’s present in my favorite Cuban dishes. If you have access to mojo sauce, that would also be fantastic sprinkled over top.

gluten-free, can easily be made paleo with substitutions

Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

For the chicken:

1 roasting or stewing chicken

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1 bell pepper – any color, chopped

4 ounce can puréed tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

Generous sprinkle black pepper

3-4 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Juice & zest of 1 orange

1 Tablespoon orange cocktail bitters + more if desired

1.5 cups nice broth

1.5 cups water

1.5 teaspoons your favorite stock starter powder (you want about 3 cups of liquid – I had some nice mixed meats bone broth and use chicken-free chicken bouillon starter powder to make my quick-n-dirty stocks)

For the bowl base:

1 cup long grain rice (or cauli rice if you’re paleo)

1 cup reserved stock from the (cooked) chicken

1 cup water

Generous pinch salt

1 Tablespoon ghee or butter

Bowl accents:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small white onion, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)

1 bell pepper of any color, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon “chicken” bouillon starter

Your favorite black beans (optional. DH found some pre-cooked Cuban style beans in a pouch – they’re amazing if you can eat them. Fillos is the brand)

2 plantains

Toppers:

Reserved raw pepper & onion

Chopped cilantro

Your favorite hot sauce (ours came from the Hot Ones sampler pack we got for Christmas – Hot Ones, if you’ve never heard of it is not only a hilarious YouTube channel filled with celebrities eating ridiculously hot wings, but is also a fun way to play wing roulette at home )

First, dump all the chicken ingredients in your electric cooker or stew pot. I cooked mine for 1 hour on the “meat” setting of my electric cooker. Your mileage may vary.

When the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone, remove from the cooker and set to cool.

Add the rice ingredients to your cooker (swiping a cup of that yummy chicken liquid you just emptied out of the pot). Set your rice to cook. I left mine in the pot on the warming setting for awhile (half an hour-ish) after it finished, and the bottom browned and crisped a bit – y-u-m.

While the rice is cooking, sauté your diced pepper and onion in 1 teaspoon neutral oil. Season with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Remove when softened and starting to brown. Wipe the pan.

To your wiped pan, add enough neutral oil to cover the bottom. Set over medium-high. Quickly slice the plantains into half inch thick rounds while the oil heats to shimmering.

Add the plantains one at a time (carefully so you don’t splatter oil on yourself) so they are flat and not crowded in the pan (I did mine in two batches). Once they are all nestled in the pan, flip, starting with the first. Let brown and remove to a few paper towels folded in on themselves a few times. Sprinkle immediately with coarse salt.

Repeat with your second batch, remove and salt.

Heat your black beans if using.

To serve, use the rice (or rice analog) as a base, add the chicken and accents and sprinkle with the toppers. Add some hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4 (the rice and accents) and more (the chicken)

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