Versailles-Inspired Cuban-Style Garlic Chicken

After yesterday’s meal, there was a lot of yellow rice left, but nothing else left-over to go with it. So, I decided to make my own version of Versailles‘ “#6 Famoso Pollo Versailles” (Famous Garlic Chicken).

1-2 lbs. chicken thighs
Sour orange juice (“naranja agria”) (alternatively, 1 cup of regular orange juice, juice of 2 lemons or limes, and 1 tbsp. of white vinegar will do)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1 tbsp. butter

At least overnight, marinate the chicken thighs with all of the above ingredients, except for the onion and butter.

When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, over medium heat on the stove top, heat some butter in a pan and add the chopped onions to the pan. Next, briefly (2-4 minutes per side) fry each side of the chicken to brown them (note: searing is for flavor, not to keep moisture in).

Then, put the chicken in a baking pan, and drizzle the onion and butter mixture over the top. You can also put the marinade in the baking pan as well. Finally, place the baking pan into the oven, and cook until done (about 30-35 minutes in my oven, but it tends to run on the hot side).

As a postmortem, my chicken turned out to less flavorful than expected. I think the substitute for sour orange juice was fine, since the chicken did have a nice tanginess to it, but it was not as moist or garlicky as I remember the Versailles chicken to be. Perhaps I’ll double the amount of garlic next time and marinate the chicken longer next time.

Also, the dish would have paired nicely with some black beans and plantains, but authenticity will have to wait for next time. Instead, using only what I had on hand, I made some cuban-inspired white cannellini beans. While the beans were tasty (probably due to the addition of some bacon pieces), it didn’t quite have that Cuban flair. Next time, it’ll be black beans or bust. Maybe some feta on top.

For some dipping goodness on the side, you can also make some Mojo de Ajo (garlic sauce). Rick Bayless has a simple but tasty recipe that I’ll have to try next time. I’ll also have to wait until another time to try my hand at another Versailles mainstay, the roast pork.

Referenced Sources:

Previously Made:
-Friday, March 2, 2012: ate with yellow rice and white cannellini beans

3 responses to “Versailles-Inspired Cuban-Style Garlic Chicken

  1. I used to live in Miami and cook Cuban food a lot. One suggestion that might help is to put your minced garlic in a pan with the olive oil. Bring just to a simmer, remove from the heat and let the garlic steep until room temperature and then use in your marinade. You will have a more pronounced garlic flavor. Hope that helps.

    • That’s a great idea, I will definitely try that next time. Thank you for the suggestion!

      On a separate note, your blog and its photos are quite enjoyable. It’s certainly an inspiring change of pace from the urban life.

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