Chicken Vaca Frita


For the mojo:
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ cup fresh orange juice
¾ cup fresh lime juice done
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the Chicken Vaca frita
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white sweet onion, sliced into ½ moon shapes
salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh lime, juiced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the mango salsa:
3 ripe mangos, diced
1 small Haas avocado, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon (pinch) crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ fresh lime, juiced
½ fresh orange, juiced

 8 corn tortillas
black beans (recipe below)

Make the moho:
Using a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, salt and peppercorns and mash the mixture into a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the orange and lime juice and oregano, stirring to combine. Slowly stream in olive oil and whisk until combined. If time, set aside (1 hour or longer, for maximum flavor) or use right away.

Make the chicken:
Add the mojo to the shredded chicken and let it stand at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes.

In a large skillet, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and crispy, stirring often (be careful not to burn)! Transfer the onions to a bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat, lift up the chicken with tongs, leaving the marinade in the bowl, add the chicken to the skillet and cook, until brown and crispy about 5 to 6 minutes. Using a spatula, flip shredded chicken and continue to crisp the other side. Season with salt to taste, add onions back to the skillet. Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir well. Set-aside until ready to use.

Make the mango salsa:

Prepare the mango salsa while the chicken is marinating. In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with salt. For best flavor, let the salsa stand for 10 minutes or longer before serving.

Heat the tortillas:
Cook each tortilla for about 10 seconds per side or until lightly charred, directly on gas burner or outdoor grill. Keep warm in damp kitchen towel until finished cooking all tortillas.

Assemble the tacos by layering 1-2 tablespoons black bean mixture, chicken vaca frita and mango salsa. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions 3 to 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds (making sure it does not burn), stir in black beans, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer mixture for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slightly mash beans if desired.

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10 Responses to Chicken Vaca Frita

  1. Joan Wolf says:


  2. jac says:

    Not as many steps as seems, once you get started and it’s all done. Yum recipe’. Thanks

  3. Sara says:

    I saw this on your program and it looked delicious and relatively easy to make. I am new to cooking and was eager to try it out. I made it tonight and it was super tasty. Thank you!

  4. Kathy says:

    We saw your show and tried the recipe for chicken vaca fria. It was delicious. The second time in making chicken vaca fria we used left over baked chicken, cooked the shredded chicken in the mojo marinade and cooked it until the marinade had just evaporated but still moist – turned out wonderful. We also left the avocado out of the mango salsa and served the avocado on the side. The salsa tasted a lot brighter this way. Thank you for such a great recipe.

  5. Carol says:

    Saw this last week, it’s on my list to make soon. Sounds great!

  6. This looks fabulous. Can’t wait to make. 2 years living in south Florida I fell in love with Cuban food.

  7. Johna Wrzosek says:

    Sara my husband wants me to cook vegan. Trouble is I am a diabetic. Can I eat Vegan with out my glucose getting to low?

  8. Dee says:

    This recipe is so tasty. Who knew you could brown shredded chicken and it would be sooo good. The mojo makes it flavorful.
    The salsa is great as well. Can’t stop eating it. Worth all the prep. Thank you for this recipe — a fabulous dish.

  9. Sherry Diana says:

    I saw this on your program today. Looked so good I just have to try it! Thank you!!

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