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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Peruvian roasted chicken

I came home from work and my wife informed me that I was making dinner. She said that she had defrosted chicken and was in the mood for Peruvian. No problem. But she hadn't really checked what she had defrosted and it turned out to be a measly five drumsticks. 

No problem. I would make this work.

When she saw how small the package was she suggested that I just do our ordinary lemon garlic chicken instead but now my stomach was set on Peruvian. Since our favorite Peruvian restaurant, Panca, closed in Oceanside, I have nowhere close by to get Peruvian chicken. 

Peruvian chicken and much of Peruvian food is built upon a piquant little pepper called the Aji Amarillo (capsicum baccatum.) 

While not particularly hot, it has the most wonderful and rich flavor. Really, there is nothing else like it in the culinary world or at least anywhere that I have found. 

The pepper is native to the Andes and it grows in both Peru and Bolivia.

Amarillo means yellow in Spanish but when mature the pepper turns a brilliant orange.

We buy it as a paste. If you have never tried it I suggest you do so.

You may have to hunt around for it, not always easy to find but most hispanic groceries will have it. You can also buy it online.

In any case I roasted the five legs with potatoes last night and it tasted wonderful. Just not quite enough.

I was talking to Gina about my dinner and she asked for my recipe and I told her I would post it on the whole blog. Simple, easy to make and good with the whole bird.


whole chicken (or any amount you happen to have, I would not cut down on the marinade.)

2 tbsp avocado or olive oil 

2 tbsp aji amarillo paste

juice of half a lime

5 or 6 garlic cloves minced

1 &1/2" tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 dash of smoked paprika

1 dash of garlic powder

To Prepare:

Pat down the chicken dry with paper towels.

Mix the marinade in a small mixing bowl and pour it over the chicken which you have placed on a parchment covered baking sheet. Turn the chicken over and rub it in with your hand so the entire piece is covered. 

Let it rest on the sheet at room temperature and marinate for an hour. You shouldn't let chicken stay non refrigerated for over two hours but the hour sit at room temperature supposedly will give you a juicier bird. If it is really hot, by all means put it in the fridge.

I had a bunch of small yellow potatoes that were starting to grow too many eyes and decided their time had come. I scrubbed them, cut them in half and filled the voids on the baking sheet. I hit them with salt, garlic and pepper and a drizzle of oil and a spray of duck fat. Added paprika and rosemary and a squeeze of lemon over everything.

Stuck it in a preheated 425° oven for forty minutes or until the interior temp was at least 160°. I cooked mine until it was 180° and with legs it was perfect. Hard to overcook legs.

The chicken skin can get dark but it is from the sugars in the lime juice, not to worry, it doesn't taste burned.

Dinner was delicious. The potatoes absorbed some of the marinade flavor and were absolutely divine. Crispy outside, fluffy interior.

Traditionally this meal would be served with an aji verde or cilantro dipping sauce but I didn't have enough time or any juice left in my tank. Maybe next time. If you are stuck doing chicken the way you always do, give this one a try. I think that you will like it. I cut the salt a little bit so season to taste.

We both were wondering last night why they put five drumsticks in a tray, sort of a recipe for disaster, or at least a tug of war, no? We split the last one.

Let me know how yours comes out.


By the way, if you have not bought this duck fat spray at Walmart, you need to. 

No preservatives or GMO, it is a mainstay in our kitchen.

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