Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken

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This last spring while shopping for plants for my garden I stumbled upon a Cuban Oregano plant.  I’ve never seen or heard of Cuban Oregano before and it was so much different looking than the Italian or Greek Oregano that I have growing in large pots on my back patio.  The leaves were thicker, almost succulent like and they were lighter in color than the variety I use for Italian and Mediterranean dishes.  What I also noticed is that it had a wonderful herbaceous smell and flavor that would be perfect with chicken, pork or even lamb.

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Do you see how thick the leaves are?  They are fleshy and soft to the touch, almost velvety in nature.  I picked a few sprigs and thought of making a marinade for some chicken that I was going to prepare for dinner that evening.  I tasted one of the leaves first to get an idea of how much to use.  It was fairly aromatic and had a lovely flavor.  With that in mind, I was thinking of making a marinade that had a Mexican or Latin American profile.  That meant lime juice, cilantro and garlic would be great in addition to cumin, pepper and onion.  I pulled together my ingredients and marinated the chicken for about 4 hours before tossing on the hot grill.  Luckily, I wrote down my recipe for it turned out fabulous!  Both Bruce and I loved it!  As a result, this marinade is a definite keeper.  Chop up any leftover chicken and fill warm corn or flour tortillas for delicious soft tacos for a quick and easy dinner the next day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs Cuban oregano
  • 4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • garnish with lime wedges and sprigs of Cuban oregano

Toss all ingredients except for the chicken in a blender.  Blend for a few seconds until all the ingredients are mixed well.  Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 – 6 hours before cooking.  Place chicken on the barbecue or grill pan on medium high heat.  Discard marinade.  Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from heat and let chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with lime wedges and garnish with the Cuban oregano.  Makes about 8 servings.

24 thoughts on “Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thank you Mad Dog! I was pleasantly surprised with that type of oregano. Definitely different. Especially taste and texture.

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I have never seen, let alone had, those Cuban oregano. They are so meaty and succulent. Your grilled chicken looks fingerlickingly delicious, Tessa.

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thanks Angie! When I first bought the plant I was a bit apprehensive for it did not look like traditional oregano. I am pleasantly surprised!

        1. Tessa Post author

          I’m seriously going to try it! I’m thinking that it would work great on a non stick grill pan. You know how tofu can be difficult to deal with on a grill :). Have a great day Uru!

          1. Tessa Post author

            No kidding about tofu. It is a very fussy ingredient to work with. I have not tried it yet. Maybe this weekend. It will need to marinate overnight I’m thinking… Did you make it with tofu?

  2. mjskit

    What an interesting herb. I’ve never heard of Cuban oregano, but I will definitely be looking for it. One can never have enough herbs in their garden. :) Love the marinade with all of those herbs and flavors and your chicken – grilled just like I like it!

    1. Tessa Post author

      I completely agree with you about not having too many herbs! I did some research on this plant and found that it will not survive the cold Oregon winters (it likes zone 10 and we are an 8) so I am going to have to put it in a pot and take it indoors. It’s so pretty that it could pass as a houseplant :).

    1. Tessa Post author

      Same with you Raymund! You introduce me to some amazing ingredients too! From what I have read this little plant likes warm climates. I am going to have to take it indoors in the winter because Oregon is too cold. Maybe that is why I have never seen this plant before (will not grow well in my area). Not to mention, I had still have no idea if it is an annual or a perennial.

  3. Karen

    While this oregano would never survive in my garden other than an annual that I would have to replant every year, your chicken looks and sounds terrific.

    1. Tessa Post author

      Hey Karen! Thank you! I recently learned that the Oregano will not survive the winters here in Oregon either. I’m going to have to dig it up and re-pot it before the first frost :).

        1. Tessa Post author

          That is too bad… I see that there is at least a 3 planting zone difference between Oregon and New England. On the bright side, you know what you need to do to in the fall to save your perennial plants :).

  4. Sissi

    Even though I have only a small balcony, I am a crazy herb grower and always look for new plants (only edible of course ;-) so I’m thrilled to learn the existence of a new herb. I have never heard of Cuban oregano, but it looks and sounds fabulous! I must see if I can find seeds somewhere in Europe. Your chicken obviously looks beautiful and so tempting! (Though I’d start the meal by the beautiful leaves ;-) )

    1. Tessa Post author

      I love to grow different types of herbs too :). This plant has not flowered yet so I don’t have any seeds. If I get any, I will send some your way!

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thank you Joanna! You crack me up! As a matter of fact, I do keep a pad of paper and pen on the counter here in my kitchen. I write things down just in case a dish turns out delicious enough to share :).

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