HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Does anyone have a recipe for the garlic marinade from Versailles Cuban restaurant (Los Angeles area)?

They call it the "Versailles Mojo". It's basically a citrusy garlic marinade sauce. If not the exact recipe, an approximate version would be fine.

Here's the restaurant's link: http://versaillescuban.com/

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wow, I hope you get a response. I haven't lived in L.A. for 15 years but I still long for that chicken.

    1. Oh my god, thats the place! I have been trying to remember the name of the cuban restaurant I went to where I had the best garlic chicken. Awesome! Hopefully someone does have the recipe or one similar.

      1. Here is the recipe for the sauce:

        Cuban Garlic Sauce- Mojo (pronounced Moho not Mojoe)

        1/2 cup olive oil
        8-10 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
        1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
        2/3 cups sour orange juice or substitue using 1/3 cup lime juice plus 1/3 cup fresh orange juice. (I'm going to have to play around with this ratio of lime to orange juice or maybe try using lemon juice in place of lime.)
        1/3 cup water
        2 tsp cumin
        1 tsp oregano
        2 tsp salt
        1 tsp pepper
        1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

        Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add the chopped garlic and onions cooking until a pale golden brown. Stir in the citrus juices and water plus the dry herbs and spices- cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil for 4-5 minutes. Add more salt or pepper to taste.

        Remove from heat and let cool. The cilantro can be added at this time. Stir and enjoy. The sauce can be refrigerated and may be kept for several weeks.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Ultradm78

          How long do you marinade the chicken? TIA

          1. re: Fog City Kid

            Could this marinade be used in a slow cooker for pork???

            1. re: Fog City Kid

              I use mojo for both chicken and pork, and the longer the marinade the better. When we have a BBQ we marinate the chicken at least three days (we like it strong) and I've marinated pork shoulder pieces for double that. The pork is excellent in the slow cooker... and we tend to grill the chicken.

              --Lisa in Fort Lauderdale

          2. re: Ultradm78

            What are the flavours like when done and why so good. Do tell.

            1. re: Ultradm78

              Great! Thanks, ultra. I'm going to try this tonight.

              1. re: Ultradm78

                Ok, so I made this recipe last night. My report:

                I made the marinade according to the specs in Ultradm's post (I had access to actual sour orange juice, so I used that rather than an orange/lime combo) on Monday morning and applied it to six leg-thigh pieces of chicken which I covered and refrigerated until I started cooking at about 5pm yesterday, so figure the chicken marinated for about 30 hours. I then fricasseed the chicken in rough accordance with some other recipes I found online - dried and browned the pieces, then simmered them in a covered pan for about half an hour. Then I finished the dish under the broiler to re-crisp the chicken skin.

                It was very good - but I found it didn't quite reach the almost-too-much intensity of garlic/citrus flavor that I remember from the Versailles original - this despite the fact that I added a few additional chopped garlic cloves midway through the simmering process. So next time I may either up the garlic/citrus content, or cook the chicken more thoroughly during the initial browning, so that I can cut the simmering time down (which, I feel, mellowed the flavors of the sauce).

                Anyone else try this yet?

                1. re: GDSwamp

                  I believe they also baste with marinade (fresh not any that's had raw chicken involved) over the meat as it cooks. Also, I wouldn't marinate anything with citrus for that long. Citrus can "cook" the meat. Think ceviche.

                  1. re: Jennalynn

                    Well, I hear you in principle, but in fact the citrus didn't "cook" the chicken at all, so I guess either the citrus content of the marinade was low enough, the time was short enough, or chicken isn't so easily "cooked."

                    Also, since I was fricassee'ing the chicken in the marinade I think basting would have been redundant - it was sitting in a pan full of the stuff.

                    But if you've got a line on Versailles' roasting technique, please share.

                2. re: Ultradm78

                  Hi there-- I found your post on Versaille's Chicken recipe-- am trying to find Sour Orange juice. My neighbor told me the Vallarta grocery chain carries such- in bottles like wine bottles called Naranja something or other in their marinade isle.. I wonder if Tangerines or Kumquat juice might work... planning to try this recipe this weekend... Anyways, thought to share.. thanks for your original post!

                3. BTW...you can also buy this bottled @ any Versailles location :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ultradm78

                    Not if you live in San Francisco and still long for it...

                    1. re: Carrie 218

                      You can buy mojo online - most of the latin folks I know don't make their own.


                  2. Mojo marinade is one of my favorites. I use the marinade to braise pork shoulder. Strain the juices and reduce. OMG! So good!In the "Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban" cookbook, there is a recipe for L.A. Garlic Sauce.5 cloves garlic1/2 cup olive oil2 tbsp white vinegar1/2 cup sour orange juicesalt and pepper to tastePuree the garlic, oil and vinegar, slowly add the orange juice. Should end up with a thick whitish emulsion. Use it to marinade, dip, baste, braise....Or here is a Chimichurri recipe1 cup cilantro leaves8 cloves garlic1/4 cup vinegarjuice of 1 limecouple dashs red pepper flakes2/3 cup olive oilsalt and pepper to tastePulse (in a blender or food processor) cilantro, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, red pepper flakes. You want them chopped finely not mashed up. Put in a bowl and slowly wisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste or more vinegar and lime. Use for dips, on top of steaks!!!, and enythiing else you can think of.Check out http://icuban.com/ It's a good site and you can find numerous recipes. I especially love the tres leches cake. My favorite dessert now.

                    1. Oh and another favorite... fried pork chunks marinaded in mojo....I really truly believe I was a cuban grandma in another life.LOL

                      1. I tried for years to copy this garlic sauce from Versailles and finally nailed it.

                        11 ounces of La Lechonera Sour Orange Juice (no other brand will do, trust me)
                        7 cloves garlic
                        juice of one lemon
                        teaspoon cumin
                        teaspoon black pepper
                        pinch of salt
                        1 thick slice onion

                        Puree all of the ingredients except the onion in a food processor for two full minutes...pour mixture into a bowl over the onion slice, broken into rings. Let sit for about two hours in refrigerator. Enjoy!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: dbmedia

                          You can get the La Lechonera Sour Orange Juice from the San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles.


                          1. re: dbmedia

                            So after I let the sauce sit in the refrigerator then what do I do ? Do I marinate the chicken? Do I roast the chicken or grill it ( BBQ?) and do I baste the chicken

                            1. re: wolldog

                              Once the sauce is finished in the food processor, I pour about half of it into a plastic storage bag along with whatever meat, chicken or pork (different meat in different bags!), for example, that I happen to be cooking that day. I let that marinate in the fridge for up to four hours. The rest of the sauce I pour into a bowl with onion slices and let sit in the frig until ready to serve. I will take the sauce out of the fridge about 1 hour before serving to let it come to room temp.

                              For cooking, I will then brown the chicken and/or pork on all sides on the stove top, then put it into the oven, covered, for about 90 minutes at 350. My wife, who was a Versailles aficionado, tells me that mine is now better than theirs.

                              1. re: dbmedia

                                Thank you, that is really good info. Just two questions:

                                1. Do you wipe the meat dry before you brown it or just leave the marinade on it ?
                                2. When you cook it in the oven is it just the meat or do you have it in the marinade ?

                                I have a case of La Lechonera in the garage and I am off to the store to buy a chicken.I will let you know how it turns out

                                1. re: wolldog

                                  I will simply take the meat out of the bag and place in a preheated deep skillet so it begins to sear immediately. After browned on both sides, I pour the remaining marinade into the skillet, add a few onions and garlic cloves, cover and roast for 90 minutes. This recipe is for skinless, boneless chicken breasts, which we prefer...and also for boneless pork loin.

                                  If you are roasting an entire chicken, follow the same recipe, but do not cover in the oven as you want the skin to crisp up for you. Just keep an eye on it while finishing in the oven. Have fun and good luck.

                                  1. re: dbmedia

                                    I have a recipe for roast chicken that I got from Americas Test Kitchen over a year ago, It's easy to the point that I can start and finish the chicken in about 90 minutes. part of the recipe calls for removing the back bone, salt and pepper both sides then lay the bird out flat in a roasting pan then add about 3 1/2 cups of stock, juice and water. Roast in 475 oven for 1 hr. I'm wondering if I marinated a chicken in the mojo, then poured the remaining mojo with stock in pan and roasted it at high heat would it do the job.....flavor wise

                            2. re: dbmedia

                              So to be clear this is the recipe for the Versailles garlic chicken? What do I do once I have the marinade, i.e. marinating and cooking directions?


                            3. I need help finding a recipe for the garlic shrimp or garlic halibut from Versailles.
                              The Mojo recipes here look good, and I found info on making the chicken and pork, but what I love is the garlic shrimp and halibu
                              Since I don't live in LA any more I can't just go get some of the real thing.

                              I know the shrimp is cooked with garlic sauce and butter, but need some more tips. Any help???

                                1. re: HulaShakeJaz

                                  Unfortunately, Versailles has apparently discontinued selling it's bottled sauces.

                                  1. re: HulaShakeJaz

                                    I bought the Mojo from Versailles before, but you can't just use the Mojo sauce for garlic shrimp or halibut like you can for the chicken and pork. I need help with the shrimp and halibut. Anyone?

                                    1. re: amccoy

                                      With seafood, saute' with generous amounts of butter and garlic, with a touch of the mojo sauce to replicate the dishes quite nicely. I like to marinate the shrimp or fish in a bag with some olive oil and chopped garlic

                                  2. Good heavens, I miss not a whole lot of L.A. but Versailles chicken!!! Now, where's the recipe for the shredded pork?! Will try this one - thanks for posting!