Cuban Chicken with Chili Roasted Yams

This zesty, brightly flavored Cuban Chicken makes me SO happy!  What gives the chicken its amazing flavor is a Cuban style marinade called Mojo (pronounced moho), made with fresh orange and lime juice and their zest, garlic cloves and cumin seeds. Colorful bell peppers and onions with white wine and bay leaves line the bottom of heavy bottom pot and nestled in the center, lies the chicken. The whole thing is placed in the oven and when it comes out, the chicken is roasted golden brown, and the delicious pan sauce has been reduced and infused with the juices of the chicken and mojo. Served over Chili Roasted Yams (or simple rice) spoon the flavorful pan sauce, peppers and onions over the chili roasted yams, and place the chicken over top. Finish with fresh zest and cilantro. I hope this makes you as happy as it makes me.

The recipe starts by making a very sunny Mojo- the Cuban marinade for the chicken. Fresh orange and lime juice and zest, garlic, and cumin are blended together in a blender. Traditionally, Mojo is made with Seville oranges, very sour, bitter oranges, great for cooking but often hard to find. The lime mimics this flavor.

Rinse, pat dry and truss the chicken. Trussing the chicken will help the chicken cook more evenly.
Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag with the marinade and let sit at room temp for one hour, 
turning occasionally. Did you know that bringing the chicken to room temperature for one hour before roasting will also help the chicken cook more evenly? (This can be refrigerated in the marinade for up to 24 hours. )

While the chicken is marinating, cut and prep the veggies. 
Saute the onions and peppers until tender and add white wine and bay leaves. 
Prep the yams for roasting. 
Once the onions and peppers are sautéed, add wine and bay leaves. 
Nestle the trussed chicken in the middle of the pot along with the marinade.

Toss the yams with olive oil, chili powder, salt and a hint of allspice.

Place both in the oven. 
The yams will be done in 30 minutes.
The chicken will roast a total of 1 -1 ½ hours depending on how big.
When the chicken comes out, it will be golden, tender and juicy. 
Let it rest 10 minutes before cutting. 

Garnish with lime and orange zest, and fresh cilantro.

Serve over the yams, with peppers and onions and the reduced pan juice.
Thanks for reading! For more Feasting at Home … 

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Cuban Chicken with Mojo Marinade and Chile Roasted Yams
by March-22-2014
1 small 4 – 4.5 lb chicken
1 orange- zest and juice
1 large lime- zest and juice
8 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted ( or ground cumin )
2 T oil

1 T olive oil
1 onion- sliced ½ thick rings
2 Bell peppers- sliced into ½ inch thick rings
1 Cup white wine
2 Bay leaves
extra lime and cilantro for garnish

2 Yams- ½ inch thick slices, cut in half
2 T olive oil
½ tsp chili powder
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
lime wedges

Marinate chicken for at least 1 hour at room temp…. or up to 24 hours refrigerated. Make marinade: Zest orange and lime and set aside. Add juice from lime and orange ( should be at least a ½ cup total ) and garlic to a blender. Add oil, salt, pepper, cumin. Blend well. Rinse and truss chicken and place in large Ziploc bag, with the marinade, turning to coat all the nooks and crannies. Let sit at room temp for one hour, turning occasionally. (Or marinate up to 24 hours in the refrigerator). In a large dutch oven, heat 1-2 T oil over medium heat. Add the onion “rings”, sauté on med high heat, stirring often until golden and just tender about 4-5 minutes. Add peppers, turn heat to med, sauté 3-4 more minutes. Add the wine, half of the orange and lime zest, the bay leaves and turn heat off. Remove chicken from marinade and set it aside on a plate or on parchment paper. Pour all remaining marinade into the pot with the onions and peppers, and give a sir. Nestle the trussed chicken breast side DOWN in the pot. Place on the lower rack of a 425 F oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, reduce heat to 400, and continue to roast until inner thigh reaches 165 F -about 35-45 minutes more.

Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

To make roasted yams, toss cut yams in medium bowl with olive oil, salt, chili powder, allspice, coating evenly. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast @ 400 F until tender, about 30 minutes. Squeeze with lime before serving.

Cut chicken and serve over roasted sweet potatoes, making sure to scoop up some of the braised peppers, onions and pan juices. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, a sprinkling of lime and orange zest and fresh cilantro.


Prep time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour marinade time Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2-4

thanks for sharing!
thanks for sharing!


  1. says

    This is so gorgeous! I love the fresh garnishes on top, and the yams sound like the perfect compliment too. I’ll have to cook this and reminisce about my years of eating Cuban food in Miami. Thanks!!

  2. Anonymous says

    Seriously the most delicious roast chicken i have ever made! I did not have any white wine so i substituted with chicken stock and a splash of cooking sherry. served over mashed potatoes because i was out of sweet potatoes.

  3. Anonymous says

    I’m making this tonight and looking forward to every delicious bite. The photograph is just so retty, I had to try preparing it. We’re not having yams but long grain wild rice. Didn’t have white wine so had to send hubby out for that. Darn, LOL, hate when that happens!

  4. Anonymous says

    Made this last night with wine that hubby had to run out to buy. :) So yummy and easy to prepare! Had leftovers for lunch and just as delicious. Can’t wait to make again!

  5. CaribeAzul says

    As a Cuban, who learned her cooking at my Mother’s side, I would recommend you substitute sour orange (they are also called Seville oranges) for the lime and orange juice. Fresh sour orange juice is the best, but a good substitute would be the bottle juice in the Hispanic aisle of the supermarket. I love this recipe, and cook it often accompanied by rice and black beans, of course. Yum!

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