The Benefit Of Using Chicken For A Cuban Mojo Dish Instead Of The Classic Pork

One of the most popular Cuban dishes is mojo-roasted pork, which is essentially a pork dish, typically a pork shoulder, that has been marinated in mojo sauce (usually a mix of citrus, garlic, oregano, and olive oil). While this traditional dish is delicious, Tasting Table takes a slightly different route with a version that uses chicken instead.

The Cuban mojo-roasted chicken, which was developed by Michelle McGlinn, is the perfect way to experience the dish without having to invest quite as much time. The main benefit of using chicken instead of pork is that the chicken quarters cook quickly — the total cook time of the dish is just 45 minutes — whereas the pork requires a slow roasting process.

Since the chicken version of this dish is so much faster, it can be whipped up for a weeknight dinner when there's more of a time crunch. However, it's worth noting that the recipe calls for an overnight marinade, so you still need to do some prep work in advance.

What to know about cooking the chicken -- and which sides to pair it with

Roasting the chicken is really quite easy and simple — after you've done all the prep work with the marinade, you simply pop the chicken in the oven and your work is basically done.

But, before all of that, you need to pick the cut of chicken that you're going to use. Whole chicken legs are generally considered the best choice because they're almost guaranteed to stay tender and juicy — in other words, they won't easily dry out. However, legs do take more time, so if you want to cut down the cooking time even more, reach for chicken breasts instead, which require just 15 to 20 minutes to bake. If you go this route, keep in mind that they're more fickle and will dry out if they are overcooked. 

While the chicken is baking, you can prepare any side dishes. Rice and beans is the most straightforward side option for the mojo chicken — and a delicious one at that. You could opt to make cilantro lime rice with Cuban black beans. Or, instead, you may want to fry up a batch of easy fried plantains, which come together in less than 20 minutes.