Cuban Chicken and Yams

  • Yield servings


1 pound chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces
1 -- crushed garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 in pieces
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground chile pepper (like cayenne, arbol or piquin)
1 teaspoon salt
1 can coconut milk (13 14 ounces)
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate (available in freezer section of groceries or as bottle in Latin themed grocery stores)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup quinoa (or orzo pasta)
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper (from jar is okay)
1 tablespoon capers
1 pinch (1/8 tsp) saffron
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup Mexican crema or light sour cream
2/3 -- chopped roasted cashew nuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Trim the chicken breast tenders and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with 1 garlic clove (pushed through a press), 1 tblsp olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 tblsp fresh lime juice. Cover and set aside.

Heat 3 qt skillet on medium heat and add 2 tblsp olive oil. Add chopped onion and heat 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and water, then cover for 4-5 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, ground chile, salt, coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, and tamarind concentrate. Stir, then add to onion-sweet potatoe mixture. Add chicken and bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 min.

Heat a sauce pan with 1 tblsp olive oil. Add rice, quinoa, saffron, roasted peppers, salt and capers. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes (until water is absorbed and rice is tender).

When chicken is finished cooking, remove from heat, then stir in crema. On wide shallow bowls, place a circle of rice pilaf, then put a large scoop of the chicken mixture in the center. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped cashews.

Story behind recipe: I lived in Miami, Florida for 7 years– during which time my culinary world exploded with an amazing array of latin flavors. I later moved to Texas and married a Mexican-American man. This dish represents my favorite latin food memories from Miami– fresh citrus, tangy tamarind, tender sweet potatoe, creamy coconut milk, and soothing safron. It's a perfect background for chicken.



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