Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peruvian Style Roast Chicken (Pollo a la Brasa) with Green Chile Sauce (Aji Verde)

Roast chicken is very popular in Peruvian cuisine, but what makes it unique are the spices and seasonings used along with the sauces that are traditionally served on the side. A key flavor component is Aji Amarillo paste, a quintessential Peruvian ingredient made from yellow Amarillo chiles. There really is no substitute for the flavor so, please get yourself a jar or two! You can buy these online at www.amazon.com (I buy the Dona Isabel brand). For this recipe, I opted to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken, which makes the prep quicker and easier but still aromatic, juicy and delicious, and served it with a green chile sauce made with Aji Amarillo paste, cilantro, lime juice, light mayo, and yogurt.


MARINADE:
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz.) beer

3 1/2 - 4lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs*

SAUCE (Aji Verde):
1/4 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tbsp. Aji amarillo paste

*You can substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but then you'll miss out on that crispy, aromatic, deliciously spiced chicken skin!

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels. Remove as much excess fat as you can from under the skin and place in a bowl.

3. Add the marinade ingredients to the chicken, toss well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. For the sauce: add all the sauce ingredients to a blender or small food processor; blend or pulse about 10-15 seconds until just blended. Remove to a bowl, cover, and set aside (refrigerate if not using right away).

5. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Place the marinated chicken thighs, skin side up, on the wire rack, spaced at least 1" apart.

6. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and at least 160F.

7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes.

8. Plate the chicken thighs onto individual serving dishes and serve with the Aji Verde sauce on the side.

To serve leftovers, just heat the thighs in a 350F oven on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until the skins have re-crisped and the meat heated through.

You can use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

OR, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs to keep the dish on the lighter side.

Toss the chicken with the marinade ingredients.

Place the marinated chicken into a Ziploc-type bag & seal; refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Marinade ingredients: beer, ground cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, and Mexican oregano.

For the green chile sauce: add Aji Amarillo paste, cilantro, 1 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper, mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, and lime juice to a small blender or food processor.

Pulse a few times, 10-15 seconds or until blended through but not too smooth.

Place the marinated chicken (blotted dry) onto racks over a baking sheet; roast at 425F for 30-40 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and/or internal temperature of the chicken is at least 160F.

Let the chicken rest out of the oven about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with the green chile sauce (Aji Verde) on the side. 

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