Recipe courtesy of Yadi Garcia

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Caribbean Root Medley Mash, Sofrito Rum Reduction and Creole Fruit Salsa

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
In this twist on the same old chicken and potatoes, I showcase the wide array of root vegetables used in Caribbean cuisine—it's not just rice and beans. I stuff chicken breasts with a mash consisting of a medley of vegetables: pumpkin, taro and Cuban or tropical sweet potatoes (auyama, yautia and batata). Big island flavors appear from sofrito and rum in the sauce while a fresh fruit salsa of pineapple, mango and papaya with guarapo (pineapple vinegar) provides a bright finish. This complete meal is an ode to growing up in the United, but a piece of my heart and stomach always lives on the island.


Creole Fruit Salsa:

Caribbean Root Medley Mash:

Chicken Breast:


Special equipment:
kitchen twine
  1. For the creole fruit salsa: Combine the pineapple, mango, papaya, red onion, lime juice or pineapple vinegar, cayenne pepper or Tajín, orange zest, mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Toss until well combined and set aside for serving.
  2. For the Caribbean root medley mash: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Place the garlic on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Roast until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Pop the roasted garlic out of the peel and discard the peel. Leave the oven on for your chicken breasts!
  4. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, taro, sweet potatoes and vegetable broth in a stockpot. Season with salt, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the vegetables.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once it's hot, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped red onions and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or large bowl. Add the root vegetables, butter, cream, cilantro, paprika and roasted garlic to the onions. Process or mash with a potato masher to your desired consistency but still thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the mash aside.
  6. For the chicken: Slice the chicken breasts horizontally and open each one like a book. Sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon of the sazón and 1 tablespoon of the dried oregano. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sofrito on each breast. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 cup of the mash in the center of each butterflied breast and tie with kitchen twine to enclose the stuffing.
  7. Heat the avocado oil in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Once your skillet is very hot, add the stuffed chicken breasts and cook until seared, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 degrees F, about 20 minutes. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, bake the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet.) Remove the twine, slice each chicken breast into 3 rounds and set aside.
  8. For the sofrito rum reduction: While the chicken is in the oven, heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic paste and cook, stirring quickly, for 30 seconds, then add the sofrito. Stir to combine. Add the honey and oregano sprigs and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by one-fourth, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rum and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until reduced to your desired consistency. Remove and discard the oregano sprigs.
  9. For serving: Place the chicken on a plate and add some of the reduction and 1/2 cup of the salsa on the side. Garnish with lime zest and edible flowers, if using.

Cook’s Note

Many organic sazóns contain less salt than conventional brands. If using organic, increase the amount of salt according to taste.