Cuban Chicken and Yams

  • Yield: servings


1pound chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces
1-- crushed garlic clove
1tablespoon olive oil
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon pepper
1tablespoon lime juice
2tablespoons olive oil
1cup chopped onion
3cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 in pieces
2tablespoons water
1/4cup brown sugar
1/4teaspoon ground chile pepper (like cayenne, arbol or piquin)
1teaspoon salt
1can coconut milk (13 14 ounces)
1teaspoon lime zest
2tablespoons fresh lime juice
1teaspoon orange zest
3tablespoons fresh orange juice
2tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate (available in freezer section of groceries or as bottle in Latin themed grocery stores)
2tablespoons olive oil
1/4cup long grain white rice
1/4cup quinoa (or orzo pasta)
1/3cup chopped red bell pepper (from jar is okay)
1tablespoon capers
1pinch (1/8 tsp) saffron
2cups chicken broth
1/4cup Mexican crema or light sour cream
2/3-- chopped roasted cashew nuts
1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro


Trim the chicken breast tenders and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with 1 garlic clove (pushed through a press), 1 tblsp olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 tblsp fresh lime juice. Cover and set aside.

Heat 3 qt skillet on medium heat and add 2 tblsp olive oil. Add chopped onion and heat 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and water, then cover for 4-5 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, ground chile, salt, coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, and tamarind concentrate. Stir, then add to onion-sweet potatoe mixture. Add chicken and bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 min.

Heat a sauce pan with 1 tblsp olive oil. Add rice, quinoa, saffron, roasted peppers, salt and capers. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes (until water is absorbed and rice is tender).

When chicken is finished cooking, remove from heat, then stir in crema. On wide shallow bowls, place a circle of rice pilaf, then put a large scoop of the chicken mixture in the center. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped cashews.

Story behind recipe: I lived in Miami, Florida for 7 years– during which time my culinary world exploded with an amazing array of latin flavors. I later moved to Texas and married a Mexican-American man. This dish represents my favorite latin food memories from Miami– fresh citrus, tangy tamarind, tender sweet potatoe, creamy coconut milk, and soothing safron. It's a perfect background for chicken.