Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

I have a lot of kitchen gadgets- a LOT- but until recently, I didn’t have a good pair of kitchen shears. I was thrilled to be able to halve this chicken with my new shears. Just like all of the chefs on television. 😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used ancho chile powder instead of pasilla chile powder, used dried aji amarillo powder instead of paste, increased the amount of garlic in the marinade, and lowered the roasting temperature.

I incorporated my CSA cilantro into the incredible creamy green sauce. I served the chicken on a bed of sautéed CSA leeks and greens (collard and turnip) with roasted CSA potatoes on the side. It was a celebration of my vegetable share. 🙂 Spectacular.

Yield: 4 servings

For the Chicken:

  • 10 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste or another chile paste such as sriracha or sambal
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 of a lime)
  • 1 teaspoon aji panca paste or 1 teaspoon pasilla or ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, halved (see Note) or 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup/1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (I used sheep’s milk feta)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon aji amarillo or other chile paste (I used aji amarillo powder)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • lime wedges, for garnish
  1. For the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste, lime juice, aji panca paste, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.
  2. Add chicken halves, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. (I marinated the chicken for 10 hours.)
  3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
  4. Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, tenting with foil after 30 minutes, for 35 to 45 minutes (if using chicken parts, remove the breasts after 25 to 35 minutes), or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
  5. While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, aji amarillo paste, honey, and cumin until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.
  6. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.

Note: To cut a chicken in half, use a sturdy pair of poultry shears to cut lengthwise through the breastbone. Turn over and cut again, along the backbone. If desired, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Mexican-Style Chicken over Penne

Chipotles, Cheese, Chicken Thighs… mmm… this dish could have just as easily been a taco or burrito filling, but we ate it over penne. 🙂 I had to make a Mexican dish to enjoy my new margarita glasses in the warmer weather!

This dish was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Melissa Rubel Jacobson. I used a combination of cheeses and increased the amount of chicken, garlic, corn, and cheese in the dish.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound penne rigate (I used whole wheat)
  •  5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 10) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice
  •  coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 large sweet or yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  •  One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  •  1 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  •  1/4 pound queso fresco, queso blanco, Monterey Jack, and/or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/3 cups)
  •  1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the penne.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until the corn is heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the penne and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce and toss to coat. Add 1 cup of the cheese and toss.
  6. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the cilantro and serve.

One Year Ago:

Corn Tortillas

I did it! I have been talking about making homemade tortillas for a while. I have read several encouraging posts making the process sound so simple, but an article about tacos in the New York Times pushed me to finally do it. For a taco lover, this article is heaven! I want to try every recipe. 🙂 I made these tortillas to accompany Black Bean and Roasted Poblano Tacos. The tortillas were delicious and made the tacos much more special.

I hesitated to make tortillas because I was apprehensive about pressing the dough. It was so easy! I shouldn’t have worried. The secret was to line the tortilla press with a ziplock bag. What did surprise me was how time-consuming it was to cook the tortillas- using two skillets expedited this process somewhat. I kept them warm, wrapped in a kitchen towel, in my new tortilla warmer. 🙂 Yay! This recipe was adapted from Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel Presilla, via the New York Times. I may add a pinch of salt to the dough next time.

Total Time: About 1 hour
Yield: 15 tortillas
  • 12 ounces nixtamalized corn flour, like Maseca
  • coarse salt, to taste, optional (I used 1/2 tsp)

  1. Cut 2 10-inch squares of thick plastic from a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag and set aside to line an 8-inch tortilla press.
  2. Place the corn flour in a large bowl. Slowly add 2 1/4 cups hot tap water, kneading it in with your fingers. Once all the water has been added, knead until dough is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. The masa should be very soft but not sticky, about the consistency of Play-Doh. If it is too dry, work in more water, 2 tablespoons at a time. If it is too wet, continue kneading until it dries out a bit or knead in additional corn flour. Masa dries out very quickly, so once it is at the right consistency, keep it covered with a damp kitchen towel.
  3. Heat a pancake griddle or a heavy nonstick or cast-iron skillet (or 2) over medium heat. The goal is a steady medium-low heat.
  4. Pinch off about 2 ounces masa and roll into a ball about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Flatten lightly between your palms to make a 2 1/2-inch round. Place one sheet of plastic on the bottom of the open tortilla press and place the dough in the center. Cover with the other sheet of plastic and press the lever gently but firmly to flatten the dough. Don’t crank the lever down as hard as you can because the tortilla will be too thin. 
  5. Flip the tortilla (still in the plastic) and press lightly again into an even 6- to 6 1/2-inch round. Place the tortilla (still in the plastic) in your left palm. Use your other hand to peel off the plastic, then invert the tortilla onto your right palm and peel off the other plastic. Gently release the tortilla onto the cooking surface.
  6. Watching carefully, cook just until one of the edges begins to appear dry, 15 to 25 seconds. (If you overcook the tortilla at this step, it will not cook properly.) Flip the tortilla and cook on the second side just until it is speckled with brown spots, 1 to 2 minutes, rotating it once. Flip the tortilla back to the first side. The tortilla might begin to puff at this stage. When it is just beginning to brown on the bottom, flip again, back to the second side, and move to a cooler part of the cooking surface, toward an edge. Let the tortilla finish cooking there until most of it appears translucent when held up to the light, 30 to 60 seconds
  7. Stack cooked tortillas in a basket lined with a large napkin that you can fold over the top, which will let them continue steaming, keeping them soft and pliable. If not using immediately, store cooked tortillas in the refrigerator, well wrapped. To reheat, place directly on a hot surface or wrap in a damp towel and heat in the microwave for a few seconds.

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