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Monday, February 11, 2019

Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

This creamy sauce is quite beautiful and ensures a tasty chicken meal. The marinade and sauce take a bit of time to pull together and you have to allow time for marinating, but cooking the chicken is straight forward and easy.

The original recipe offers substitutes items fairly often found in home kitchens and I followed those suggestions. I didn't want to wait until I could find new ingredients online and wait for delivery. The results were excellent.


Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Adapted from NYTimes Cooking
Serves 4

This can be cooked as either two halves of a chicken or as chicken pieces. I chose to cook pieces and found that when I removed the breast pieces from the oven earlier than the thighs and legs, as advised, the sauce burned on the pan. To avoid the burned mess and smoke, I advise cooking the chicken on two quarter sheet pans (or two cake pans would work) placing the brown meat on one and the breasts and the wings (if you use them) on another. This way, you can place the breasts in the oven 10 minutes after the brown pieces so that everything finishes up at approximately the same time. Additionally, the juice that is released by the chicken as it cooks is very tasty and it is a shame to let it burn away when it would be better to drizzle it on the pieces of chicken just before serving.

For the marinade:

6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T soy sauce
1 T aji amarillo or another chile paste such as sriracha
1 T lime juice
1 teas aji panca paste or 1 teas pasilla chile powder (I used ground dried mild Hatch chile)
1 teas Dijon mustard
1 teas ground cumin
1 teas freshly ground pepper
1/2 teas table salt

In a large bowl or storage container mix the ingredients above.

For the chicken:

1 (3 1/2-4 1/2 pound chicken) halved or one chicken cut into pieces (I recommend the larger size or you'll have left over sauce)

Place chicken halves or pieces in the bowl or container. Turn until all pieces have been coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2-12 hours. 

For the sauce:

If you are at all spicy-hot averse, mix the sauce with small amounts of chile and chile paste and taste it after blending. You can always add more jalapeno if you want.

1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems
jalapenos, seeded and diced (up to 3-4 but I used just half of one)
1/4 c crumbled feta cheese
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped or sliced
1 1/2 teas lime juice, more to taste
2 teas chopped fresh oregano or basil (or 1 teas of dried oregano)
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas Dijon mustard
1/2 T aji amarillo or other chile paste (see above)
1/2 teas honey or sugar or agave syrup
1/2 teas cumin
1/2 c olive oil

Place all ingredients except for olive oil in a blender container and run the blender until everything is fairly finely chopped. Scrape the sides. Drizzle the oil through the blender opening while the machine is running until everything is emulsified. Scrape the sides again and run the blender a while to get everything as smooth as possible. Stop the blender and taste the sauce; add more chile, salt, and/or lime juice, if desired. Store in fridge until serving time.

Cooking the chicken:

the marinated chicken
olive oil for drizzling as needed

Heat the oven to 450 F. Take the chicken out of the marinade and blot with paper towels to dry the pieces somewhat. Arrange the chicken skin-side up on an oiled rimmed baking sheet (or two quarter sheets as suggested above). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and place in the oven. Chicken halves can be roasted for 35-45 minutes (check with an instant read thermometer if you want to be sure it's done; 160F for white pieces and 165F for brown meat). For chicken pieces the brown meat should be done after 35-45 minutes and the white meat after 25-35. I found that both white and brown were much past the target temperatures in the time recommended but they remained tender. Consider my above suggestion and place the white meat in the oven 10 minutes later than the brown since they can overcook and become badly dry. Remove from the oven and allow to sit under loose foil for 5-10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with sauce to pass.

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