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.

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Zucchini – Leek Soup with Creme Fraiche & Cilantro

This creamy soup was described as a marriage between French cooking (leek and crème fraîche) and Tex-Mex flavors (poblano and cilantro). I think this soup tastes like our favorite tacos in bowl…. with a more sophisticated presentation. 🙂

I love the poblano chile flavor- one of my favorite ingredients. I may even add an additional poblano chile next time! I always save my Parmesan cheese rinds tightly wrapped in the freezer, perfect to use to flavor sauces and soups like this one.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, contributed by Danika Boyle. We ate it with a fresh sourdough baguette and then again with hot popovers on the side. This soup would be just as delicious served cold.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 large poblano—cored, seeded and thinly sliced (maybe 2 next time?)
  • 5 medium zucchini (2 1/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 small Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • One 6-ounce bunch cilantro, stemmed and coarsely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup (8 oz) crème fraîche
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leek and poblano and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the zucchini is very tender and no longer bright green, about 15 minutes. Discard the Parmesan rind and add the chopped cilantro.
  4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until very smooth.
  5. When puréed, whisk in the crème fraîche and reheat gently if necessary.
  6. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish the soup with cilantro leaves and serve.
Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently or serve cold.

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