Cuban Marinated Chicken Tacos are marinated with orange and lime juice, cumin, garlic, and minced onion. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs means they grill up quick for any night of the week.
Do you love cumin as much as I do? I mean, I could put it in everything and never get tired of it. Which is why I love this Cuban marinade. And also why I love curries and masalas. But that’s a whole different post.
What is cumin?
Cumin is the seed of a plant. Yes, I know that’s sort of obvious. It’s a plant that’s part of the parsley family. This is news to me. It sort of reminds me like dill in the pictures, but sometimes it’s confused with caraway. I guess they’re similar in size and shape. But definitely not in flavor!
It’s from the Middle East, but it’s influence spans the globe. I mean it’s mentioned in the Bible of all places. Cumin is the base of many Indian spice blends. Greeks keep it on the table in a separate container like pepper. It traveled the globe to the Americas with Spanish and Portuguese colonists.
Cumin seems to make itself an integral part of all the cuisines in countries that it touches. A little less so in Europe but Asia, Middle East, Americas, and even the Caribbean integrate this unique spice in it’s flavor palette. Cumin is embedded in several popular recipes such as their black beans, picadillo, and mojo.
What’s in mojo marinade?
When I think of Cuban food, I immediately think of their mojo marinade. I’ve used this marinade for my Cuban Style Pork Taco Bowl and my Cuban Style Steak and Corn Salad. So, yes it does work for all kinds of meat.
There are just a few ingredients in this marinade. It’s that simple. There’s garlic. I use a half a head or at least 1/4 cup minced garlic. To that I add 1 1/2 cup of bitter orange juice.
This isn’t something you can find everywhere. I can find it at one or two of the international markets around here. But do not worry if you can’t find it. You can use lime juice. I happened to have key lime juice so I used that.
But the citrus just doesn’t stop there. I added 1 1/2 cups of orange juice to the garlic and lime juice. Then goes in 1 teaspoon of dried garlic and 1/4 cup dried minced onion. The onion isn’t typical with this marinade. I just like the flavor the onion in the marinade.
Finally, there’s the cumin.
And since I like the cumin flavor the most in this marinade, I put 2 tablespoons in there. Some recipes call for way less, but not mine. I love the combination of the cumin and the citrus with the garlic. It’s a trifecta of amazing flavors in your mouth. Finally, I added 1 tablespoon of chili powder just to round out the flavors.
See what I mean? The thighs are just the perfect width for a flour tortilla. Or a hard taco shell. It’s really up to you. They’re even the perfect size for the corn tortillas, too.
For me, I like lettuce on the bottom. Then I put cheese and then meat. I like the meat to melt the cheese a little bit. Then usually tomatoes and a few onions. A drizzle of crema goes on top of more cheese. Because you can never have too much cheese.
I like the little charred bits on the chicken. Don’t you? It’s like the burnt ends for smoked meat. Those charred extra flavorful pieces are ones I look for when making my tacos. You can have all the middle slices you want. Give me the ends and I’m happy!
Of course you can use chicken breasts if you want. That’s your prerogative. Heck, you could even use this with some shrimp. That would be absolutely delicious! Cuban shrimp tacos. I’m totally making those will share them later.
With the first bite of these Cuban Marinated Chicken Tacos, you can taste all the garlic, cumin, and citrus goodness that is a mojo marinade. You can easily toss the chicken in the marinade in the morning and have these chicken tacos when you get home from work.
These are weeknight worthy chicken tacos. With the boneless skinless thighs they cook up in 10 to 15 minutes. I cooked mine for 3 to 5 minutes a side and then let them rest before slicing.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups key lime juice
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
- 1/2 cup minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 8 to 12 tortillas
- Cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and other toppings of choice
- Place the chicken thighs between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness. Place in a zip top plastic bag.
- Add the orange and key lime juices, minced onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder in the bag.
- Close the bag and shake until blended. Marinate 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium high. Cook the chicken thighs 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 160. Remove from the grill and rest 5 minutes.
- Thinly slice the chicken.
- Assemble your tacos and enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 908Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 214mgSodium 1123mgCarbohydrates 110gFiber 8gSugar 13gProtein 59g
Maybe it's all the ingredients in the marinade?
Monday #BBQWeek Recipes
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- Grilled Pineapple with Maple Syrup Glaze by Blogghetti
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