While Stephan was traveling in Europe last week, he came across and sent me this recipe for Peruvian Grilled Chicken from the NYT Food section, knowing it was right up my culinary alley. I made it a few days after he returned from Venice and Zurich, and OMG is all I can say. I couldn't stop eating the moist, crispy chicken drenched in the incredibly flavorful cilantro sauce. I even dressed my Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with the delectable feta-flecked topping. It is truly "a spicy, succulent delight," as described by Melissa Clark. I'm thinking of trying it with turkey for our pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Christian's apartment in a few weeks. Since Stephan will be in India over Thanksgiving, we're going to celebrate before he leaves. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.
Note from the NYT: To mimic the juiciness and char of a grill, in this version the chicken is split down the middle before roasting at high heat. You can ask your butcher to do this or go at it yourself with a pair of sturdy kitchen shears; it’s not at all hard. (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.) Or substitute a cut-up bird, removing the breasts from the oven a few minutes before the legs and thighs so the white meat doesn’t dry out.
For the Chicken
- 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste or another chile paste such as sriracha or sambal
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon aji panca paste or 1 teaspoon pasilla 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
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oreganoor basil
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon aji amarillo or other chile paste (see headnote)
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- 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.
- Add chicken halves, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
- Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes (if using chicken parts, remove the breasts after 25 to 35 minutes). Remove from oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
- 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.
- Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.