Le Ronca El Mango

Le Ronca El Mango is a Cuban expression translated to mean it snores the mango. In other words, when something is too much to handle or simply ridiculous. That’s kind of how I feel about 2012. Let’s just say I won’t be sorry to see New Year’s this year. It’s been a year that snores the mango (albeit not entirely – there is certainly more good than bad). But we have faced a few situations that were at the time a bit much to handle and a few situations that are just down right ridiculous.

That said, when facing ridiculous situations and challenges it’s often an opportunity to learn a great deal about yourself, about priorities, about your family, your friends and your place in life. One of those friends that helps me to rise above it all, so that despite the situations I can honestly say I’m happier, prouder and certainly grateful, is my best friend Sue. Her friendship is a gift.

So when life is snoring the mango, sometimes you need to take a road trip with your best friend (and her boyfriend and your family).

This was the first of our recent adventures – a fall weekend to our home away from home, and where Sue and I first met as college roommates. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to meet up with our other friends on this trip, but there will most certainly be a next time.

We’ve made little road warriors out of the kiddos too. They crave road trips just as much as we do.

That and they love the local toy store.

The carousel is hand-carved. A real work of art.

While on our trip, Sue proposed a challenge for our blog: to come up with a recipe that fits her diet restrictions. No gluten, no soy, no corn, no dairy, no red meat. No problem. That’s the kind of challenge I’m happy to embrace.

So this recipe is for you Sue (or “Friend Sue” as the kids affectionately say) – Cuban Garlic Chicken.

It couldn’t be easier. Select your chicken pieces – we chose boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Toss them in a resealable bag with bitter orange juice, salt, white vinegar, black pepper, oregano and cumin. Oh and did I mention, 12 cloves of chopped garlic? Oh yeah! (I wasn’t sure if vinegar was gluten-free, but I found this article very helpful.) Let the chicken and other ingredients soak over night, and then when you’re ready to cook, place it in a greased baking dish.

The chicken bakes at 450F for about 35 to 45 minutes, until it’s cooked through and a nice golden brown.

We served ours alongside some traditional Cuban black beans and rice (recipe coming soon). It was FANTASTIC!

This isn’t a boring chicken dinner at all. It’s flavorful and fully of intensity.

In fact Mr. N and I gave it 3-1/2 spoons. I’d gladly eat this again…and again. Especially with the beans and rice.

Mike and Miss A also liked the chicken a lot and came in at 3 spoons each.

We were really happy with how this whole dinner turned out. And Sue we hope it’s one you’ll enjoy too. I love ya and thank you for always having my back.

Next week we’ll bring you our Cuban black beans and rice recipe and follow it up with our mountain adventures. Until then may your day, week, year, not snore the mango. And if it does, embrace that which really matters.

Print this recipe: Cuban Garlic Chicken

61 thoughts on “Le Ronca El Mango

  1. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says:

    Sorry to hear that 2012 was a year that snored the mango Kristy. I hope the last couple of months will be much better and 2013 will be a year full of magic πŸ™‚
    I am always on the look out for new chicken recipes and I am indeed in love with your creativity


  2. spicegirlfla says:

    I wish we could be together to toast in the New Year together because I see now that it’s going to be a much better year for both of us!!! I’ll add you to my prayer list now, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some bumps this year. Keep a smile of faith on your face!!

    I’ve used that bitter orange juice to marinate chicken before; it definitely turns out tasty and tender. That is exactly what Cuban’s do use in their cooking. I know, I lost my heart to one in South Florida….I was told to watch out for those latin men πŸ™‚


  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    What I love about coming here is that my heart becomes warm. Your meals are family friendly and delicious and I enjoy them, but your snippet about your family stories (and friend’s this time) shows what kind of person you are and I really enjoy getting to know you. Sorry to hear this year was a little tough but it looks like you are happy again and ready for better 2013! I love this garlicky chicken. Looks so good!


  4. Kate@Diethood says:

    I’m sorry you have to deal with snoring mangoes 😦 Or life’s stupid obstacles. I hope that all is well…you deserve nothing but the best!! HUGS!
    Btw, that chicken marinade sounds ahhhh-mazing!


  5. Mel says:

    Love that expression, it’s going into my journal after I finish this comment πŸ™‚
    May the new year see no snoring of mangoes (what is the opposite? “it rocks the plums”?), and may wonderful friends be constantly in your life (I love mine, too!)

    Also, that chicken looks and sounds so good!!!


    • Kristy says:

      Opposite or not…I’m using that expression too! I love it Mel! It totally rocks the plums. πŸ˜‰ And thank you for your kind wishes. I hope your new year is filled with fun and friends as well.


  6. Caroline says:

    So sweet of you to create a recipe for your friend–everything sounds delicious! I’m sure the chicken had tons of flavor, especially since you let it marinate overnight. And dang, 12 cloves of garlic!? I’m definitely okay with that. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Love the photo of Miss A on the carousel. πŸ™‚


  7. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    This chicken sounds so satisfying. Sorry this year has been so crazy for you. I love that expression though and think I will definitely use it from time to time when nothing else fits the bill. Glad you got to spend some quality time with your friend.


  8. helene dsouza says:

    Looks like you had lots of fun! Its looks so cold there Kristy. O.O shocking for me who hasn’t experienced such a weather in some time (except the time when I went to europe in May, it started to snow there).

    Your chicken with mango sounds tempting. They sell mangoes now here, because of the russians, but its not the season so they taste plain and boring. I d love to recreate your dish with our mangoes from our trees. =)


  9. TheCubanFoodBlog says:

    Cuando nos acercamos al final del aΓ±o, es el momento de recordar lo bueno y lo malo, y esperamos a los nuevos desafΓ­os de la vida en el prΓ³ximo aΓ±o. And anything you cook with that much garlic has got to comfort you….. Thanks for showing us all how to meet life’s challenges with positivity and flare. Inspiration for all of us. Abrazos, Tanja


  10. Aimee@clevermuffin says:

    There’s nothing like a road trip to sweep away the cob webs, especially when life is giving you lemons. A lovely dish as well, diet restrictions can always be overcome I find if you just get back to basics πŸ™‚


  11. Three Well Beings says:

    The chicken looks really good and one would never think it was composed in response to so many dietary restrictions. It is complete! I’m sorry to hear that this year has had moments of “LeRonca El Mango.” It has for us, too. As well as so many people I know…we all need a “start fresh” or “do-over” soon!But the photos of your lovely family show your resilience and loving spirits…you’re so right about what we learn in these times bringing some meaning. And good friends really are “the cherry on top.” Bless you, Kristy! Debra


  12. Karen says:

    I had to pop in and see what your family has been up to while I’m on vacation. It looks like you have been having lots of fun from all the smiles I see. Oh…and eating some delicious food.


  13. Charles says:

    Love the contrasting shades of black and white in the rice dish. You know how I feel about chicken so I’ll just admire the nice colours, haha πŸ˜€

    Sorry your year’s been tough, and here’s to a happier 2013. I love the feeling of getting away for a bit. It’s like all the trifling concerns you have back home just melt away!


    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Charles! I know great things are coming are way, so I’m not stressed. Not anymore anyway. πŸ˜‰ Have a great weekend. Looking forward to your two year celebration post!


  14. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Hope the snoring mangoes are behind you now. I find after a spell like that it takes a few positive things to change the momentum ….but once that happens it helps change your perspective. I love that the chicken looks easy to prepare — and boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a family favorite!


    • Kristy says:

      I agree Barb. I’ve had a few of those positive momentum changes already and know that it’s going to be worth it all once the snoring mangoes are past. Some things are worth fighting for no matter the cost. πŸ˜‰ And we love chicken thighs too. I know they’re not as healthy as chicken breasts, but I just like them so much better. Have a great weekend!


  15. Eva Taylor says:

    It’s these challenges that we can reflect and truly appreciate our family and friends. You are fortunate to have Friend Sue, and I am certain you are as good a friend to her too otherwise you wouldn’t have created this incredible recipe! What is bitter orange? Is it just orange without added sugar?
    Your adventure look great, it’s been a brutally rainy fall here in the big smoke, it just sucks. In fact it’s teaming rain now.


    • Kristy says:

      Hi Eva! I am very fortunate to have Friend Sue. πŸ™‚ I know this stuff will be behind us soon and honestly, I know it’s only going to lead to great things. It’s just getting through the muck first. Bitter orange is the same thing as Seville orange juice. We find it in the Hispanic section of our grocer. You can also sub two parts orange juice with one part lemon juice and one part lime juice. πŸ™‚


  16. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Snoring the mango – how great is that? – love the expression Kristy! (In fact, I’ve been saying it all afternoon ;-)). You’re so wise to head out into nature and seek the support of your dear friend and loved ones… as we know, they’re the only ones who matter in the end. Strange to think that life’s greatest opportunities can be disguised in our most challenging moments… yet it’s never easy to live it that way. Big hug to you and your beautiful family. Loved the photos and your garlic chicken looks fabulous – Sue will no doubt love it!


  17. Amy says:

    I think I have some Tamari in my cabinet if you can find it! Also, check out Marcel’s in downtown Glen Ellyn for all things food. Todd and I took a knife skills class there the other night, and it was pretty cool! They offer kids classes, too, for Mr. N. Anyway, when I was there, I thought to myself “I bet Kristy would like this place!” Hang in there.


  18. Norma Chang says:

    Wonderful that your good friend is close enough to get together and lend a shoulder to lean on. Tamari started out as a GF free soy sauce but now also have non-GF soy so one must read the label. Thanks for the vinegar link, learned something new. That chicken sounds wonderfully delicious.


    • Kristy says:

      It is wonderful Norma. Sue and I have lived close and far, but I’m very happy we live close again. πŸ™‚ I’m going to have to look into Tamari. I’m sure one of the stores around here has it.


  19. hotlyspiced says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had your challenges in 2012. Does Sue not eat soy because it has gluten in it? We have quite a few G-F substitutes here in Australia like Tamari. That’s a delicious looking chicken dish that I can imagine is full of flavour xx


  20. Mary says:

    Thank goodness for best friends! even with diet restrictions – in this case it’s another blessing – GREAT recipe – I love fantastic chicken recipes as we seem to live on chicken!!
    Mary x


  21. ChgoJohn says:

    Sounds like a change of scenery, no matter how brief, was needed and to do so with good friends was all the better. GF or not, this chicken dish sounds delicious, Kristy, and I’m always on the look-out for tasty chicken recipes. I’m glad you were able to cook something for your friend and I’ve bookmarked the vinegar article. I’ve a few friends who will find it helpful. Thanks!


    • Kristy says:

      The chicken is fabulous John. We usually eat chicken about once a week and it’s the meal I’m least excited for. This one, however, is one I’d look forward to. πŸ™‚


  22. sallybr says:

    Not sure if I would define 2012 as a year thar snored the mango, but it s been “eventful” and that is putting it mildly. ;-).

    i wish I could say more but commentinf from the iphone is a pain.

    Great post, great photos, glad you had fun with your friend!


  23. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that this year you’ve snored the mango too much. You are right, there’s nothing like a good friend to set things right.. and the road trip sure doesn’t hurt! It’s so nice to have a change of scenery, isn’t it? I’ve found gluten-free to not be too much trouble as long as some unusual suspects are looked into (even soy sauce can have gluten I think!). But the rest of her dietary restrictions sure are limiting. You really hit the mark with this dish, creating something flavorful and gourmet! xx


  24. Dawn says:

    I’m sorry you have had such a tough year – but yes, it is good to focus on the positive when that happens. I am exhausted, but surprisingly hungry – the chicken looks awesome!


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