Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peruvian Chicken

When this month's Cooks Illustrated arrived, I was very quickly drawn to the Peruvian Chicken Recipe.  I love roasting a whole chicken at home and have always enjoyed good Peruvian chicken.  Every recipe I have tried from this journal has always provided great instructions and results.


It really was a pretty simple process.  I had to buy a few items I do not typically keep on hand, fresh mint and Habareno chiles.  But honestly, I don't see a reason why this recipe won't become a staple in my house.  It offered moist chicken with a perfect crispy skin.  It has a hint of spiciness that pleased my husband.  Win, win all around!

Peruvian Chicken
adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 Habareno chile, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 TBS of cumin
1 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of dried oregano
2 TBS of olive oil
2 tsp of lime zest
2 limes, juiced
3 1/2 lb whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
one can of beer

In the bowl of a mini-prep food processor, combine the mint, chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, olive oil, lime zest, and lime juice.  Pulse until combined and then process until a coarse paste forms.    Take half of the mixture and rub into the chicken under the skin of the breast and legs.  Place the chicken in a large resealable bag and pour the remaining mixture over the chicken.  Be sure that the marinade covers the chicken entirely.  Refrigerate for 6-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325degrees.  Place the beer can in the center of a sheet pan, opened with only 1/2 of it's contents (you could drink the rest).  Place the chicken on the beer can with the breasts perpendicular to the sheet pan and the legs forward.

Place the sheet pan in the oven.  Cook for 45-55 minutes, until the skin is starting to brown and the internal temperature of the breast is 140degrees.  Remove the sheet pan from the oven, carefully.  Preheat the oven to 500degrees.  Add 1 cup of water to the sheet pan.  Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 20minutes or until the internal temperature of the breast is 165degrees.  If at any point the chicken is starting to smoke, add some more water to the pan.  Once at the desired temperature, remove the pan (again carefully) from the oven to rest for 20minutes under a tent of aluminum foil.  Slice the breast meat and remove the legs and wings.  Serve alongside a garden salad and oven fries.  Enjoy!


  1. such a yummy way to prepare a chicken, those are some great flavors!

  2. The spicy mayonnaise from the Cooks Illustrated recipe should be included for this dish.
    Here it is:

    Spicy mayonnaise

    1 large egg

    2 tblspn water

    1 tblspn minced onion

    1 tblspn juice from 1 lime

    1 tblspn minced fresh cilantro

    1 tblspn canned pickled jalapeno minced

    1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed

    1 tspn yellow mustard

    1/2 tspn kosher salt

    1 cup vegetable oil

    Process all ingredients except oil in food processor until finely chopped, about 5 seconds. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil in steady stream until mayonnaise-like consistency is reached,scraping down bowl as necessary.

  3. Completely agree - delicious chicken!

    The beer can wasn't sturdy enough to hold my chicken, so I used a few bamboo skewers to keep it from falling over... it looks like you used a can slightly larger than a beer can, which is something I'll try next time.

  4. Would this work with a non-alcoholic substitute for the beer?

  5. I don't see a reason why a cup of chicken stock in a 14oz can wouldn't provide the same results at a beer can. If you look carefully at my pictures you'll see I actually used a 14oz can from a can of diced tomatoes I had recently opened. It worked perfectly! Enjoy!

  6. PakAmeristanican-
    I used a can of Sprite, and it worked out very well!

    Loved this recipe! And the spicy mayo is a must. Although I don't have a food processor to mix the mayo, so I just mixed mayo with the spices listed and was very happy with the results.

  7. A couple of comments. First, if your chicken is too large to be stabilized with a standard 12 oz beer can, use a can of Fosters which is significantly larger. However, I prefer a smaller chicken (about 3.5 lbs as specified) if available. Second, the original recipe calls for smoked paprika and a habenero pepper. When making this dish while traveling in the Southwest, I used a chipotle pepper (smoked jalapeno) which supplied both the smoky flavor and heat. This substitution worked well for me the several times I tried it while visiting friends and relatives.

    In summary I found both the flavor and presentation to be great.

  8. In your narrative, you stated,"It has a hint of spiciness that pleased my husband."

    Is that really accurate using a whole habanero pepper?

    I like the flavor of peppers but prefer to actually, only have a hint of heat.

    Thanks for posting this recipe with the great pictures.


  9. A vertical roaster works great -- no fear of slipping off or tipping over, plus a container for the drippings which can be used in serving the sliced breast meat.


I love reading your comments, especially if you tried any of the recipes. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insight!