Monday, April 25, 2022

Cuban-Style Creole Fried Chicken - Pollo Frito a la Criolla

Bone-in chicken thighs, marinated in a classic sour orange with onions, and a paste of garlic, oregano, and cumin, then pan seared and gently simmered on the stovetop.
Bone-in chicken thighs, marinated in a classic sour orange with onions, and a paste of garlic, oregano, and cumin, then pan seared and gently simmered on the stovetop.

Cuban-Style Creole Fried Chicken


If you're from the south, when you first saw the words "Creole" and "fried chicken" in the title to this recipe, you may have had certain expectations.

A southerner would likely expect any chicken that claims to be "fried chicken" to be one that has been dredged in seasoned flour and deep fried.

A southerner from the Deep South would expect a recipe claiming to be "Creole" to have the typical influences of tomato along with the trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery.

You'll find that neither of those elements apply to this Cuban-Style Creole Fried Chicken!

This chicken starts off with a 3-hour soak in a mojo marinade made of the juices of fresh oranges and limes, with plenty of garlic that is mashed with oregano and seasonings and sliced onion.

After that, it's fried in a bit of olive oil, removed from the skillet where after boiling to render it safe, the marinade is transformed into a light braising base and the chicken returned to it to finish cooking.

The idea for this comes from The Cuban Table, one of a couple of cookbooks I picked up when I was looking to make a proper Cuban roast for a proper Cuban sandwich, instead of the usual leftover basic pork roast everybody seems to use.


By the way, try that incredible roast sometime, and then make a Sandwich Cubano!!
 
The author, Ana Sofia Pelaez, also has a website where she went into a little more detail about the origins of her recipe, one that she said she adapted from a Cuban menu booklet. There she also explains that the "a la criolla," literally translated to the Creole, can have multiple meanings, but for her recipe refers more to the seasonings as blended into the marinade.

Here's how to make my version of Pollo Frito a la Criolla or Cuban-Style Creole Fried Chicken. As always, full recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, are a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the step-by-step pictures below.

Place chicken in a large, zippered bag or glass bowl. I pick up those large value packs of chicken thighs on sale all the time, vacuum seal and freeze them, so I'm using those, but leg quarters work, as will a mix of cut up thighs and drumsticks, a whole cut up chicken or bone-in breasts even! Just adjust cooking times according to the internal temperature required.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juice.


Mince the garlic and add the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.


Mash it all together.


Add to juices.


Pour over the chicken pieces.


Top with the sliced onions, seal bag and squish everything all around in the bag, place bag into a bowl or container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.


When ready to cook, drain chicken but reserve marinade, transferring to a small saucepan, along with the chicken stock and onions. Bring to a full rolling boil and let boil for 2 minutes, or to 165 degrees F.  Ensuring that it reaches that rolling boil and temperature, to kill any foodborne bacteria that may have come about from marinating raw meat.


Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet over medium high and add the chicken.


Brown the chicken, in batches, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed. Avoid overcrowding the pan. I'm using my Copper Chef pan, which really does a beautiful sear.


Transfer chicken to a plate as you brown batches.


To the skillet drippings, empty the entire contents of the marinade.


Heat to warm through.


Return chicken to skillet and reduce to a low simmer.


Partially cover pot and cook chicken about 30 minutes, or until an internal temperature on an instant read thermometer reaches 175 degrees F. 


Transfer to platter.


Pour pan juices over the top. Serve with hot steamed rice and lime wedges.

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Click/tap here.


Posted by on April 25, 2022
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