Couzo’s culinary corner: citrus-mango chicken on the cheap

This chicken recipe is quick, easy and tastes great. It’s been passed down through my family for generations, the product of a chance meeting between Geronimo Couzo (my great-grandfather) and a fruitier in Cuba more than a hundred years ago. As mangos were only then beginning to be planted in California, they were certainly a rather exotic delicacy at the time. Geronimo jumped at the chance to include a new recipe in his cooking repertoire, and, as the story goes, the fruit merchant was so pleased with the dish that he would return several times over the years to my family’s table. The two later had a falling out after an argument about rhubarb, but the happier times have come to be remembered, as they ought.

I guarantee you’ll leave the table full and satisfied without the need for salad or dessert. The ingredients and amounts listed below will feed four people for just under $15.


– 4 chicken thighs

– 2 cups brown rice

– 1 large can black beans (about 16 oz.)

– 1 onion

– 1 green pepper

– 2 red peppers

– 1 grapefruit

– 3 cloves garlic

– 2 tsp. oregano

– 3 cups mango nectar/juice

– 2 very ripe plantains/bananas

1. Bake chicken in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

2. Pour mango nectar in saucepan and reduce over constant medium/high heat. Stir occasionally.

3. Pour beans into a pot and cook over medium heat. Add oregano when hot.

4. Chop onions and green pepper (about the size of regular M&M’s), mince garlic and sauté in frying pan with olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add to beans.

5. Chop red peppers into large pieces (think square Nantucket Nectar cap). Peel grapefruit and slice each section into three parts.

6. Sauté red peppers in olive oil for about five minutes. Add to mango nectar.

7. Cut plantains in half both the long way and short way. Fry in olive oil over medium/low heat until golden brown on both sides.

8. Remove red peppers and mango nectar from heat and add grapefruit. Mix together and place on top of chicken on plate. Place beans over cooked rice. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on plantains.

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