This fall off the bone chicken dish is influenced by the Chinese laborers that migrated to Cuba beginning in the 1850s.
Photo courtesy of the author.

At one point in the first half of the 20th century, Havana had the largest Chinatown in Latin America. Chinese immigrants developed a fusion of Chinese and Cuban cuisines, blending Chinese and Caribbean ingredients and flavors. After the Revolution, many Cuban Chinese left the island and some established Cuban-Chinese food restaurants in the US, mainly in New York and Miami.  The flavors however, stayed.

The magic of this chicken dish is that the chicken will fall right off the bone and the sauce becomes thick without the use of flour or cornstarch (if you’re looking for a gluten-free version). Rice is a staple in both Chinese and Cuban cuisines, and is a great side for this dish.

Let’s get to it.

Recipe: Pollo a La Barbacoa


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  1. In a large bowl add the chicken, cumin, dried oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well until every piece of chicken has seasoning. 
  2. Add butter and olive oil to a larger nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Once butter has melted add chicken skin side down (thighs). And cook on each side for 6 minutes or until chicken has browned. 
  4. Once chicken has browned, add red onions, garlic, white wine, water, and soy sauce to the skillet. Cover and let cook for 30 to 35 minutes on medium heat. 
  5. Uncover and reduce heat to medium low and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. 
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with white rice and salad. 

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Photo courtesy of the author.

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