Knock-Off Puerto Rican Chicken

Sol FoodI still have about a week to go until I find out if I make the NorCal Crossfit Regionals or not. Today the leaderboard was set after video submissions were validated and I officially ended up the 26th fittest female in Northern California.  I am extremely proud of that accomplishment in itself, however, I still am waiting to see how many of the top 25 females that placed ahead of me decide to decline their individual invitation and go team.  I hate to admit it but there has been a lot of social media creeping going on to see who is doing what.  Mostly because I’m dying over here trying to keep my training and nutrition on point while everyone else is riding the post Open derailed train .  After the Crossfit Open ends, your average Crossfitter goes through a period of “…eff it, I’m gonna workout less and eat like shit.”  I’m speaking generally here, but it’s so easy to fall off your good habits when those Thursday evening Open workout announcements aren’t dangling over your head every week.  But then you have me over here, still feeling like brunch, all confused.  It’s literally a 50/50 type situation that I will slide into that 20th spot and end up getting my ass completely handed to me by bigger, stronger and younger girls.  But if I’m presented with that opportunity to be served up on a silver platter, like many of the meals I make, I guess I have to jump at it right?  All I want to do is relax a little bit on my strict nutrition routine and multiple session training days but I can’t because I’m caught in the middle.  After all my hard work and dedication, I felt like I deserved a little reward, so my husband took me to St. Helena for an overnight. Two of my gym members set us up with some incredible food and wine tastings and the weather was about 90 degrees. We had just about one of the best days of my life eating and drinking our way through the Napa Valley and I wouldn’t trade that day for anything.  But, I can tell you that even that little deviance from my fairly rigid nutrition and training schedule really took a toll on me.  You may think I’m exaggerating, and it was probably more mentally challenging than physically for me to deal with the consequences of my debauchery, but it’s the truth.  When you work so hard for something, and dedicate so much time and energy to your health and fitness, letting go, even for 24 hours, can be difficult.  That’s something I need to work on.

But…a potential road to Regionals means I have no other choice but to keep my nutrition dialed and amp up my training for the time being. So I’m back on it.  That also makes me a little more motivated to get off the same standard meat and veggies dinners I’ve been eating for the last two months and start cooking with a little more flare while still maintaining a pretty clean diet.  Between coaching and training I have managed to create a few meals and treats worthy of a blog post.  I’ve got a few stored up for you all in the next few weeks, but this recipe was too good to not post ASAP.  Everyone who lives in Marin County and the surrounding areas knows the Puerto Rican restaurant Sol Food in Downtown San Rafael.  The food is pretty damn incredible but the lines can be super long and it can get pretty pricey.  The food is simple – basically chicken thighs, steak, rice, beans, plantains and mixed greens with a few other options on the menu.  The flavors the owner has created though are mouthwatering and the struggle to duplicate them on your own can prove difficult.  I mentioned to my mom that I was going to attempt to make the Sol Food Pollo Sandwich on tostones (fried plantains) last night and she had coincidentally planned to make just that same Chicken the same night because her friend Diane had given her a recipe from the SF Chronicle for THE “Sol Food Chicken.”

I took a look at it, and thought it had too many steps for my time frame and taste so I decided to make my own knock-off version of the classic. I’m usually pretty humble about my cooking and recipe creations but my husband said the flavors were so spot on that it deserved a fist bump, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives style.  I’m not even going to tell you how disasterous my plantains came out (I gladly let Stevie take over as I pouted over my broken tostones), but I will tell you how to recreate your own Sol Food chicken thighs in a few simple steps.  Easy is an understatement and I actually feel mildly guilty even posting a recipe because it’s nothing earth shattering.  It all comes down to one added ingredient and the cooking process.  I don’t know why I never tried this before but I will tell you that this will now be a staple in the Morlock kitchen.

Puerto Rican Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Olive Oil or Non-Stick Olive Spray

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Oregano

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Depending on preference/dietary concerns, either coat a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick olive oil spray and set aside.

Wash, dry and trim the boneless skinless chicken thighs of any excess fat. A little extra fat is fine, depending on preference.

Place the chicken thighs on the baking sheet and coat with additional olive oil or olive oil spray. Season GENEROUSLY in the following order:  Salt, garlic powder, onion powder.  Then sprinkle with the pepper and oregano.  The oregano should be detectable but not overwhelming.

Flip the thighs over and repeat the process.

Drop a bit more olive oil in or spray a cast-iron skillet (another pan will do, but I like skillets for browning) and heat over medium high until hot. Brown the thighs for approximately 1-2 minutes on each side.  Once there is a nice light brown crust forming on the thighs, remove from the skillet and place back on the baking sheet.

Cook the thighs in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the thighs. Thighs should be juicy so be sure not to overcook!

Serve with rice, beans and mixed greens, between fried plantains as a sandwich, or with roasted veggies.

Or just eat them with anything you like 🙂

 

 

 

 

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