No one loves rice and beans more than I do but every now and then we all have to reboot and get back on track. This weekend I celebrated my birthday and ate to my heart’s content. Spoiler: I didn’t stick to my low-carb diet. (Are you shocked?… No? … Good, you know me well!) Without any surprise, I woke up Monday morning with a dire need to re-boot. I honestly love just how amazing our bodies are. You spend weeks and months eating clean and one weekend of gluttony seriously makes you feel ill! Without any hesitation, I knew it was time for me to call in the cavalry and make one of my favorite Light Latin Dishes: Mojo Chicken with Congris Cauliflower Rice & Avocado String Bean Salad
This dish is jam-packed with flavor but light on all the bad stuff: salt, carbs, and grease. Nothing is fried and at the end of it all, you feel good about yourself. Let’s face it, I’m making a fan favorite: Congris– healthy! Now before we get started, I do want to share some tips on how I maximize on flavor to keep everything light. It’s a myth that Latin Food can’t be light!
Tip #1: Fresh onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs are your best-friends whenever you’re making a dish light. You can extract so much flavor simply by using them. You can also maximize on flavor depending on how you cook them and how long you let them marinate. Believe the hype.
Tip #2: Cooking temperatures matters. The higher the heat, the more you lock in flavor and color. Granted this a personal preference, but give it shot with your favorite simple recipe and watch it transform!
Tip #3: The caramelization at the bottom of the pan aka the fond is your other best friend. This is where ALL of the flavor gets locked in place. De-glaze it using onions, left over marinade, water, or cooking wine. Never leave any flavor behind. Maximize it all!
Tip #4: Reduce. Reduce. Reduce. When you let your flavors and dishes reduce and thicken in the pan… flavor explodes. Let your dishes simmer down and thicken. You’ll be amazed at the rewards.
- 2lbs Chicken Thighs & Drumbsticks
- 2 White Onions sliced
- 1 Cup Sour Orange Juice
- 1/2 tbs Dominican Oregano
- 6 Sprigs of Thyme
- 1/2 tbs Chicken Bouillon Cube or Seasoning Salt
- Black Pepper to Taste
- 1 Head of Garlic Mashed in Pilon
- 1 Cup of Water
- 16oz Black Beans
- 1/2 Head of Cauliflower
- 1 Small White Onion diced
- 1/2 Green Pepper diced
- 1 tsp Chicken Bouillon Cube
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 6 Garlic Cloves diced
- 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tbs Cilantro
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Avocado
- 1 Plum Tomato
- 1/4 Red Onion
- 1/2 Lime
- 1 tbs Cilantro
- Black Pepper to Taste
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup String Beans cut into small pieces
- Olive Oil
- Begin my seasoning Chicken with garlic, bouillon cube, oregano, black pepper, onions, and sour orange juice.
- Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour or more. The longer it sits, the better.
- Once the chicken is ready, heat up a dish sided skillet with olive oil
- Add chicken making sure to leave behind onions and sour orange juice
- Brown chicken on all sides. Once the chicken is browed, remove from skillet
- Now add onions and saute in skillet. You want to de-glaze the pan and take advantage of all of the flavor in the pot
- Once the onions are nice and soft, add sour orange (mojo) marinade and 1/2 cup of water
- Add chicken and thyme and cook uncovered or half covered for 25 minutes. Be sure to add water from time to time keep sauce from getting to thick or evaporating
- In a separate skillet, heat up oil and add diced white onions, green peppers, and diced garlic
- Saute for two minutes until soft
- Add Black Beans, 1/2 cup of water, cilantro, bouillon cube, and cumin. Mix until well combined.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes until becomes thick and rich. You may have to add more water to help color develop.
- In a food processor, add cauliflower and pulse 3 times until it becomes cauliflower rice texture
- Once your sauce becomes nice and thick, add cauliflower. Gently mix in and cook for 10minutes until cauliflower soften. Be careful not to over cook. You don't want your cauliflower to become mush.
- In a separate pot, steam string beans until they become a vibrate green. Steam them long enough so that they soften but still have a crunch
- Once string beans are cooked, add to mixing bowl along with diced tomatoes, diced red onions, and diced cilantro
- Now add diced avocado along with 1/2 lime, Black pepper, and pinch of salt. Mix and add additional dressing if you like.
Feel free to omit the meat if you'd like to make this a vegan dish. Substitute Chicken Bouillon Cubes for Adobo or your favorite seasoning salt