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Yo Quiero Pollo Asado {I Want Roasted Chicken}

Pollo Asado & Yellow Rice Bren Herrera

I’m a hustler–I think. I’m told I get it from my wild aunt that lives in Cuba. With no food to eat on a daily, she makes it work by any means necessary. Last time I was there, my aunt Mercedes had managed to buy a chunky pig she then raised and fed for about 6 months. And for what? For us to eat during our two week visit (back in ’99). I guess it’s the cheapest acquisition for poor islanders, so I deeply appreciate the effort, sincerely.

No offense, but I don’t eat pork. Never have so I can’t say I know what I’m missing. I ate a lot of mango while there. Chicken too!

My hustler mentality got the best of me during Christmas. We’re supposed to be in the spirit of giving. Jesus after all gave His life for us. While I sat in what was my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house, I thought about how I could give the gift of food. I worked diligently with my web developer to have this site up in just one week. Joey must think I’m crazy. I pressed forward trying to conjure up a way to get that gift out there without spending too much. Since I’m not finished paying for the site, I know I need to be frugal. Ding ding ding! Instantly, an email was blasted out to my known and food eatin’ network in ATL. “You pay for groceries, I cook for you.” In a matter of minutes I had received several emails in response with all kinds of inquiries. Will I fix this or that. Will I cook in their home. How many times would I cook and would I cook for a family. Why, yes yes and yes! No one refuses an opportunity to make a bit of cha-ching doing what they love. My barter email landed me one faithful and repeat customer. Every Sunday in January and February, my friend Jacqueline and her 2 kids would indulge in my fixin’s. No matter what they are, they’ll grub.

I started the process at my house. Pollo asado (roasted chicken), vegetable yellow rice and an everyday tomato and cucumber salad. Nothing complicated but very savory. The pollo has to marinate for atleast an hour. Because it was Sunday, lo adobè, got dressed and hit the streets. A stop at LNT for some culinary accessories (quickly eyed Rachel Ray’s cookware–pass and go). Macy’s for some post Christmas sales at Lenox Mall, Publix and my final destination for family cooking. It was 7 by the time I got to Jackie’s house. 6 hours of the chicken marinating–we should be good.

One big mistake I made, and please do take note… Don’t assume anyone has everything basic. The 2nd step in cooking pollo asado is frying and browning each side. Well, that requires oil! J had no oil! None! The French cook in butter, we cook in oil. I think even Jesus had fish oil! A bit of grape seed oil held me over until she returned with some aceite Español. All in all we made it work. The chicken was done in just 40 minutes, the rice as as yellow as sunflowers and I managed to make up a carrot salad. Cuban style of course. Thanks to Dave, my faithful graphic designer and supporter who rolled with me all day–he calls himself quality control.

Pollo Asado & Yellow Rice

On the epiphany, ending the 12 days of Christmas, I found a way to give. I also received. 3 happy hearts were full with my dinner and I was on my way to Little Maggiano’s for mediocre chicken marsala.

Christmas ’07 was great after all.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!




  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • 1/2 large sliced red or Spanish onion
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup mojo criollo *
  • 1tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 lemon wedge
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


In large pot, season chicken with garlic and onion, salt, oregano, cumin. Pinch chicken with fork to allow seasoning to sit well. Add 1/4 cup of mojo to chicken, stir and let marinate for one hour to 90 minutes.

In same pot, lightly fry chicken breast in vegetable oil until both sides have browned, for 6-7 minutes. Add remainder of mojo and squeeze lemon wedge. Bring heat down to medium-low, cover and let cook for another 30 minutes. If you find your chicken too dry, you can add 1/2 cup of dry white cooking wine. Steam from pot will create the excess mojo sauce.

Serves 3

66 thoughts on “Yo Quiero Pollo Asado {I Want Roasted Chicken}

  1. I must say this was a wonderfully cooked meal. Not only was there a beautiful display of artistry in preparation but a wonderful presentation as well. The chicken was so moist and the herbs were present throughout each bite. The rice was a perfect compliment along with the Cucumber/Tomato Salad. But the coup de gras for me was the cubanized carrots/onions which added the perfect touch. My son Kobe however summed it up best when he stated the next day ” Do we have anymore of Ms. B’s food? Her food is GOOD!!!” This from a little 8 year old who hates leftovers. Thank Goodness for B!

  2. Hola B! Gracias por tu mail, feliz ano nuevo para ti tambien. Prefiero hablar espanol lo siento, pero sé que vas a comprender… 🙂
    Estupendo tu sitio web! Volveré 🙂
    Hasta luego !

    PS: me gusta mucho el juego de palabra en tu sitio, sobre “paella y pa’el”…;)

  3. what should i do if i cant find mojo?? cause california is full of mexicans stores that dont use mojo?? lol help plz

  4. Hi Bren,

    I love, love, love your pollo asado recipe! But it’s no longer appearing on your website! HELP! Thank you!

    – Carla

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