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Mojo de Ajo marinated chicken
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Mojo de Ajo marinated chicken

In volume six of Stories, we introduced you to a Somerset-based chef who we’ve known, loved and worked with for many years – Sam Wylde. The six mini festive recipes he ‘cooked up’ went down a treat with our readers, so for summer, he’s back with four dishes for a fresh and wholesome summer barbecue.

The thinking behind the dishes – by Sam Wylde

I went to write, ‘who doesn’t love a barbecue?’, but then I thought, I actually know a number of people who don’t. And I think the reason for that is because if you want to do more than classic burgers, hot dogs and vegetable skewers, it can be a bit confusing to know where to start.

But that’s a great opportunity. British barbecue cooking has steadily become more adventurous over the last decade. Flavours from all over the world translate to the barbecue, from sweet and smoky hickory aromas of the Deep South, to Portuguese and Latin marinades like the Mojo de Ajo I use here.

Overall though, I’ve come at each of these barbecue recipes with the same approach as I do with everything – simple ingredients that go together brilliantly, are easy to cook, and taste great. There’s a good balance between depth of flavour, fresh aromas, lightness when eating (so you can eat as much as possible!) and a fresh aftertaste. They’re what I cook when I’m chief barbecue-r at home with my friends and family.

They work really well all together, but you can just add in one or two to sit amongst burgers in buns and coleslaw if you’d rather.

Makes enough for six

Put aside: ten minutes for prep, one hour and forty minutes to cook the Mojo de Ajo (including cooling) and about 10–12 minutes to barbecue the chicken. And don’t forget to marinate the chicken the night before your barbecue.

What you’ll need

For the Mojo de Ajo

30 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
120ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml fresh lime juice
100ml fresh orange juice
1 tsp fresh marjoram/oregano leaves
¼ tsp chilli flakes
A pinch of sea salt flakes

For the chicken

6 chicken breasts organic and free-range if possible
A small bunch of coriander to garnish

A tip or two

For the Mojo de Ajo marinade, I’ve written it as a small batch recipe, but you can double it (or triple it etc.) to keep in the fridge as another go-to for other dishes throughout the month. It’s best with meat or fish rather than vegetables though and when it’s marinated overnight.

And wherever we refer to grilling, make sure you heat your barbecue until the charcoal is burning white, the flames have gone, and the grill-top is piping hot.

What to do

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark three).

2 To make the Mojo de Ajo, combine the olive oil and garlic cloves in a small ovenproof dish, and cook them for around 45 minutes until the garlic is very soft and light golden brown.

3 Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for five minutes before stirring in the lime and orange juices.

4 Return the dish to the oven to let a thicker sauce develop – 20 minutes should do it. Then remove it once again and leave it to cool for half an hour.

5 Once cooled, crush the garlic to create a paste, and stir in the chilli and oregano or marjoram (they’re pretty much the same herb so either will do).

6 Smooth the Mojo de Ajo onto the chicken, cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight – keep a little of the marinade separate to use the next day too.

7 When you’re ready to cook, place each chicken breast onto the lightly oiled barbecue grill, cooking it through for about five–six minutes on each side.

8 Let the chicken rest for two minutes before serving, spreading the remaining Mojo de Ajo over it and sprinkling with fresh coriander.