My Mojo Revisited

If you’re relatively new to this blog, then you won’t recall our Caribbean-inspired meal which I posted a few years ago, and now feel it’s worth revisiting. At that point in time, we couldn’t locate tangerines, nor could we this time around, BUT, I was able to purchase a small container of 100% tangerine juice. It must be the time of year…

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Mojo—pronounced MOE-hoe, although most of us often pronounce it with a “J” sound—is a Caribbean and Latin-American garlic, chile, and fruit sauce that pairs well with meat, poultry, and seafood. Here, in Turkey Cutlets and Black Beans with Tangerine-Habanero Mojo Sauce it’s made with tangerine and lime, lending both sweet and tart notes. BTW, if habaneros are unattainable, try a Scotch bonnet, jalapeño, or serrano chile instead, or as in our case, Thai red chile peppers which we had on hand. I used two whole Thai chiles and it was not over-the-top spicy at all!

For our sides, we again served a lovely, nutritious and refined Green Rice dish (recipe below) full of nutrient-rich spinach and cilantro. This time around though, we replaced the milk with coconut milk making the rice even more delicious! It did seem to take about 10 minutes longer to cook than directed, plus I let it sit off of the heat, tightly covered for 20 minutes while I made dinner.

To add even more turkey flavor, once the cutlets are done cooking, deglaze the same skillet with the mojo. We give this meal two thumbs up and enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup fresh tangerine juice (from 2 tangerines)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/2 tsp. seeded and minced habanero chile
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 turkey breast cutlets (about 1-1/4 lb.)

Directions

  1. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil and the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/8 tsp. of the cumin.
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  2. Add the tangerine juice, lime juice, and habanero (or other chile pepper). Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set the mojo sauce aside. (The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature.)
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  3. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ¼ tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and the remaining ½ tsp. cumin and cook until the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the beans to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
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  5. Wash and dry the skillet. Season the turkey cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.
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  6. Add as many cutlets as will comfortably fit in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
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  7. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, adding the remaining 1 Tbs. oil if needed.
  8. Divide the cutlets and black beans among individual plates. Spoon the mojo sauce over and serve.
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Mojo recipe by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell 

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs (about 1/2 oz.)
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves (about 1-1/2 oz.)
  • 1-1/4 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

  1. Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and blend until the vegetables are puréed. Add the milk and salt and blend a bit more until well combined.
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  2. In a medium (3-qt.) heavy-based saucepan (with a good lid) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring about every 30 seconds, until it just begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
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  4. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the rice carefully to avoid crushing it, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.
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  5. Take the pan off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
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Rice adapted from James Peyton

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