Pollo Frito a la Criolla is a Cuban fried chicken recipe marinated in a delicious lime and orange juice and garlic combination. Cooked in a pan until the skin is crispy, served over rice.
There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.
Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, ropa vieja.
I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.
How to Make Pollo Frito a la Criolla
- This recipe starts with marinating! A very essential part of any good chicken recipe is marinating the chicken.
- The marination is a combination of lime juice, orange juice, salt, garlic and onions.
- Marinate the chicken for 3 hours.
- When it's done marinating, heat up some neutral oil in a pan. And sear the chicken until the skin is crispy.
- Remove it from the pan.
- Add the marinating sauce to the pan and then add the chicken back to the pan.
- Cook the chicken until tender.
- Serve it with over rice.
I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!
Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. It's the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.
I ate this chicken for lunch and dinner. And like a lot of Latin food, this is meant to be served on a bed of rice. Everything with rice!
The chicken was tart and rich all in the same bite. The stewed onions were delicious. This recipe and book feels as if a Cuban grandmother just handed you her best recipes.
Pollo Frito a la Criolla Recipe
- 3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 4 large garlic cloves peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup lime juice
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ to ½ cup olive oil plus more if needed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Cooked rice for serving
- Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Using a mortar and pestle (or you can use the back of a chef's knife), mash the garlic. In a measuring cup or medium bowl, add the garlic cloves, dried oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and orange and lime juice; stir until combined.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces, top with the sliced onions, and refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Remove the chicken and onions from the marinade, drain and pat dry. Reserve the marinade for later use.
- Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides until the fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd the pot. Replenish the oil as needed. Set aside the browned chicken pieces.
- Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the oil and saute the reserved onions in the pot until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved marinade and wine and bring to a simmer. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pot and lower the heat.
- Cook, partially covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with wedges of lime and rice.
If you make this Pollo Frito a la Criolla, let me know on Instagram!
Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some favorites:
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