What a delightful dinner! I’m still blown away by the layers of flavor and character of this meal. Wow!!!
Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. This is one of those meals that just came about. We were trying to figure out what we wanted for dinner with no real idea about what we wanted or felt like cooking. This typically entails going and looking at what is in the fridge and freezer. Then, standing in the pantry and staring at the various spices, condiments and whatnots we have available. Going back the fridge or freezer and selecting some protein to cook and back to the pantry again. Typically, once I start pulling things out Baby Lady will ask me what I’m fixing. At this point there is further discourse abut the meal and she gives me her thoughts and suggestions. The plan then forms and begins to take shape. In this instance, we had some chicken thighs in the freezer. We typically buy thighs because they are perfect for 2 people and we prefer the thighs anyway. We also still had some achiote paste our friend, Adriana, brought us from Mexico D.F., some leftover mojo de ajo in the fridge and beautiful fresh swiss chard in the garden. This was going to be a spin on the Cochinita Pibil (Achiote Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Wrapped in Banana Leaf) we made previously. Instead of banana leaves, we were using the edible swiss chard, wrapping the delicious little packets in foil and baking them in the oven. We also wanted to use a little orange juice with the lime juice in the paste. The final product was absolutely delicious and loaded with flavor. We will definitely do this again sometime and this is what we did.
- 2 Tbsp achiote paste
- 1/8 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 Tbsp green garlic (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Mojo de Ajo
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 4 chicken thighs, skinned
- 9 large swiss chard leaves, stems trimmed flush with leaves
- 1 red onion
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
First thing first, while preheating the oven, make the pickled red onions. These are super simple but so good. Start by putting the sliced red onions into a bowl.
Now add the juice of 1-1/2 lime.
Set aside and stir occasionally while the rest of the meal is cooking. These pickled red onions are fantabulous! We love to have these on hand as they go with so many dishes.
Next, assemble the achiote mojo de ajo paste. Start by pouring the mojo de ajo into a mortar.
Pound the spices achiote paste and mojo de ajo until you have a smooth, thick paste.
Add lime juice
and orange juice
Again, using the pestle, pound and stir to incorporate the juices and make a smooth, thinner paste.
Get a swiss chard leaf and lay a thicken thigh on top of the leaf. Slather the chicken thigh with the paste.
Now, slather the other side.
Roll the chicken thigh in the swiss card leaf.
Get two swiss chard leaves and wrap chicken thigh again but this time crosswise to form a packet.
Now wrap in foil and tightly seal.
Repeat the process with the other 3 chicken thighs. Place in a small baking dish and into the oven they go.
Bake for approximately 50 – 60 minutes. Remove from oven and open foil packets.
Put a spoon of Spanish rice in the middle of the plate and place a swiss chard packet on top and open the swiss chard.
Pour juices in foil over packet.
Repeat the process for the second chicken thigh. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Add pickled onions.