Lessons Learned: Peruvian Roast Chicken

Let’s make a list:

use a food processor, roast and carve a whole chicken, cook rice without a rice cooker.

That’s right – these are things I didn’t know how to do until I came across a recipe for Peruvian Garlic-Lime Chicken in the March/April 2011 edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Every step of the process is a learning experience and overall this meal is a labor of love delivering up a complex and delicious meal. Like any worthwhile relationship, plan on spending some time with it – in the kitchen prepping ingredients (although it is broken into several smaller chunks of time) and tying up your dishwasher.

To encourage you to stick through this with me here’s a preview of the payoff. Looks good right? You. Should. Taste. It :

1. Make mint-chili paste (15 minutes)
* Making the pickled jalapenos adds 45 minutes of hands-off time at this stage

2. Apply paste & marinate overnight (or as little as 6 hours)

3. Roast chicken (2 hours)

4. Make spicy mayo dipping sauce (5 – 10 minutes)

Note: Making the rice and coleslaw to accompany the chicken can be done on the 2nd day – the actual roasting day – while you wait for the chicken to be done.


3 tb olive oil
1/4 c lightly packed mint leaves
2 tb salt
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tb ground black pepper
1 tb ground cumin
1 tb sugar
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp grated lime zest plus 1/4 c lime juice
1 tsp minced habanero chile
1 (3.5 – 4lb) whole chicken
* ingredients for pickled jalapenos if you’re making them
* 12 oz beer in a can if you don’t have a vertical roaster
Stage 1:
Make chili-mint paste, prepare chicken, make pickled jalapenos if needed (these are for the spicy mayo you make the next day)

Study up on using your food processor and how remember to remove the giblets. Be ready because once you make the paste you’re going to get dirty and won’t be able to do anything else until you wash your hands.

Combine all of the ingredients from the top down to the habanero chile in the food processor until a smooth paste forms – a couple of seconds. Loosen the skin of the chicken from the thighs over the breast and remove any extra fat the may be hanging down by the cavity. Spread half of the paste under the chicken skin and the remaining half all over the chicken. Put your dressed up chicken in a gallon Ziploc bag and refrigerate 6-24 hours.

Pickled Jalapenos

2 jalapenos, minced
1.5 c water
1/4 c sugar
1.4 c red wine vinegar

Heat water over medium heat. Stir in sugar and dissolve. Stir in vinegar and jalapenos. Bring to a boil and let boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let steep 30 minutes on the stove or transfer to a storage container and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

Cooking Day:
Preheat oven to 325F, Drink half of your beer, Make coleslaw, Make rice, Make Spicy Mayo dipping sauce

Take out one of your oven racks and place the remaining one on the lowest position. Stand up your chicken on top of the beer can or vertical roaster – this is much harder than it seems so call in an extra pair of hands if you need it. I ended up putting the roasting pan in the oven, sliding the beer can into the cavity of the chicken and then standing it up vertically in the oven. Roast for 50 minutes.

*Make coleslaw if desired. We use this Sweet & Tangy recipe as our go-to coleslaw.

After 50 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and bump the heat up to 500F. Slyly repeat the ‘get the chicken upright in the oven’ maneuver and let roast for 20 additional minutes.

*Start the rice. Hands down the best rice is the base of the Faux Fried Rice from another CI recipe titled Indonesian Fried Rice.

After 20 minutes check for doneness. Carefully remove chicken from the oven and let rest 20 minutes while you make the Spicy Mayo sauce.

Spicy Mayo

1 egg
2 tb water
1 tb minced onion
1 tb lime juice
1 tb minced fresh cilantro
1 tb minced pickled jalapeno
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 c vegetable oil

Pull out your handy food processor and process all ingredients from the egg through the salt until finely chopped, about 2-3 pulses. Turn your machine to be continuously on and stream in the oil until a mayo like viscosity is achieved.

Carve chicken and serve with dipping sauce (we drizzle instead of dip).

Bask in the love that is Peruvian Roast Chicken and then load your dishwasher one more time before you daydream of leftovers.

This entry was posted in Again Please!, chicken, roasted, side dish, vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

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