I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything recently, but my trusty laptop crashed. I couldn’t believe it, but such is life. So I have a new laptop and I’m up and running again, so I promise to make it up to you. And this recipe is the perfect way to begin. The mojito is a staple Cuban libation. This sauce is a keeper, even for those that think they aren’t crazy about mint. The Goddess is not a huge fan of mojitos, but even she admits that The Ball and Chain (1513 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135) in Little Havana, makes a killer mojito. The Ball and Chain is a great old bar that’s been around the Miami area for quite a number of years. This mojito sauce is a whole different thing. The Goddess could eat bowls of this sauce, because you know, it is ALL about the sauce…always! This is a reasonably quick and simple recipe. We put all the marinade ingredients in a sealable bag, plop the chicken breasts in and smush them all around. You know what I mean by “smushing”, right? Then, everything just waits in the fridge for dinner! The beauty of this recipe is that the marinade will become the sauce. So remember to reserve it, as you’ll have to boil it up for about 5 minutes, after the chicken has finished baking. Pat the breasts dry, place them in an oiled skillet on top of some sliced onions. As you can see, I put the onions on top of the chicken (that’s the reserved marinade in the bag back there). This falls under the category of “do as I say, not as I do”! I sprinkle the breasts with smoked paprika, as they don’t tend to pick up much color. Bake…In my oven it took 30 minutes, but ovens vary. The breasts need to reach an internal temperature of about 160°F. The should be juicy at this internal temperature, and remember, meat continues to cook after it comes out of the oven. Internal temperatures can increase by as much as 10 degrees! Remove the chicken to a platter and tent with foil.
Place the skillet with the pan drippings, the reserved marinade, broth, white wine and heavy cream, if using over medium-high heat; bring to the boil. You want to reduce this mixture by about half.
Meanwhile, julienne the mint. I add the julienned mint leaves after I pull the skillet from the flame. You don’t really want to cook the mint, but just let the heat release the oils and the flavors. Slice the breasts, serve with some of the onions and nap with some of the sauce, about 2-3 tablespoons either over or under the breast slices. Serve with cooked basmati or jasmine rice and a salad, or as we enjoyed this, with Black Beans and Guava Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges with Walnuts.
Baked Chicken Breasts with Mojito Sauce
- 1/3 cup white rum
- 2 tablespoons Orange rum
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Grated zest from 2 limes
- Juice from 2 limes (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2-4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano (Mexican oregano is particularly nice)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons julienned fresh mint leaves
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
At least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours, before you wish to prepare the chicken, place the rums, olive oil, lime zest and juice, orange juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a large resealable bag. Seal and swish it around to mix thoroughly. Add the chicken breast, push out as much air as possible and seal tightly. Smush the chicken and marinade around until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
When ready to prepare, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade; pat dry with paper toweling. Do NOT discard the marinade (you’re going to boil it up for the sauce); set aside. Drizzle some additional olive oil in a heavy skillet that will hold all the breasts in one layer. Place the sliced onions in the skillet; place the breasts on top of the onions. Sprinkle the chicken with smoked paprika. Slide the skillet into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach 160°F. Remove the breasts to a plate; loosely tent with foil and set aside. Place the skillet, with the drippings from the breasts, over a medium-high flame. Pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to a hard boil; add the broth, the wine and heavy cream, if using. Boil until the sauce is reduced by at least half and thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat; add the julienned mint and stir. Slice the breasts on the bias, gently splay the slices (about 4-6 per person) and drizzle with at least 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Serve with rice, if desired.
NOTE: This is equally delicious without the heavy cream, and will be lighter and the flavors will be sharper.
Baked Chicken Breasts with Mojito Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.