Pollo rancho luna is simple Cuban dish

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

In Cuba, in the Havana of the 1950s, there was a popular country restaurant called Rancho Luna where families would come to spend leisurely Sundays enjoying the specialty of the house, pollo rancho luna: chicken marinated in a secret recipe.

In a feature in the May issue of Cooking Light magazine, a Cuban-born cook describes the context, recalling some of the favorite dishes of the period and giving updated, low-fat recipes for them.

In lightening and simplifying the recipes, Viviana Carballo says, no flavor or authenticity has been compromised. "They are simple and delicious because they rely on the bright flavors of fresh ingredients."

This is her version of the Rancho Luna special.

Pollo Rancho Luna

(Preparation 10 minutes, marinating 2 hours, cooking time about 10 minutes)

Four 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons commercial mojo marinade (see note)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Lime wedges (optional)

Combine chicken and mojo in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinade in refrigerator 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Combine onion and parsley in a small bowl.

Remove chicken from bag; pat dry. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Drizzle each breast with 1 teaspoon lime juice; top each serving with 2 tablespoons onion mixture. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 149 cal., 2.6 g fat (0.6 g saturated fat), 26.6 g pro., 3.2 g carbo., 0.5 g fiber, 66 mg chol., 279 mg sodium.

Note: Mojo is a citrus-based sauce associated with Cuban cuisine, but variations are found throughout South America and the Caribbean. Mojo can also include herbs, garlic, onions, salt, cumin, red pepper and olive oil. A mojo marinade is a thicker form, typically made with grapefruit and orange juices and vinegar. Goya is among makers of commercial mojo marinades.

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