Mojo is one of those preparations that has traveled and evolved, stopping just long enough to ingratiate itself to the locals and influence their cuisine. From the Canary Islands to Portugal, from Puerto Rico to the Caribbean and Cuba, you'll find a modified mojo in the regional culinaria. It's also universal. A dipping sauce, topper and chicken marinade are but a few of its many uses. It's easy to get caught up in the minute details of its myriad variations, but mojo belongs in one of two groups: red, a piquant, pepper-based version, and green, a cilantro-and-parsley flavored creation.
Video of the Day
All mojo variants share a common base: 2 parts each of fresh-squeezed sour orange juice and vegetable oil to 1 part each of lime juice, garlic and onions. Orange varieties that pack enough tartness include Seville, Chinotto and Bouquet de Fleurs. Fresh sour oranges can prove difficult to come by outside of tropical and subtropical climates, but you can make a reasonable alternative by mixing equal parts of sweet orange juice and lemon juice.
For every 1 pound of chicken, add 1/2 cup of sour orange juice and 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup each of lime juice, peeled garlic cloves and chopped onions.
Go with mojo roja if you like spicy chicken -- you can adjust the spiciness by adding or omitting peppers according to their heat. Seed and roughly chop the peppers before blending.
Add 1 red bell pepper, 1 guindilla chili and 1 teaspoon each of cumin, paprika and chili flakes to the mojo base for every 1 pound of chicken. For a hotter red mojo, add an extra guindilla or teaspoon of chili flakes; for a milder mojo, omit the guindilla and chili flakes.
Blend the mojo sauce until roughly pureed. You want the sauce pourable but textured. Season the sauce to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set it aside while you prepare the chicken.
Mojo verde is as floral and aromatic as mojo roja is spicy -- and just as easy to prepare. You could liken mojo verde to pesto without the basil.
Add 1 bunch each of fresh parsley and cilantro to the mojo base for every 1 pound of chicken. Blend the mojo sauce until combined, but texture and season it to taste. Set the sauce aside while you prepare the chicken.
Any cut of chicken works with mojo -- breasts, thighs and drumsticks, bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless, meld with mojo equally well. Thighs, however, are the cut of choice for their deep flavor. Chicken preparation starts with searing.
Season and sear the chicken on the stove in a little oil until it's crusted and caramelized. Alternatively, sear the chicken in a 450-degree-Fahrenheit oven until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to the Crock-Pot and pour the mojo over it. Turn to coat the chicken and cover the Crock-Pot.
With the prep complete it's time for the Crock-Pot to do its thing: Cook the chicken at the low setting for 8 to 10 hours or the high setting for 4 to 5 hours. After cooking, the Crock-Pot will hold the mojo chicken at a temperature hot enough to prevent bacterial growth.