This is my take on Pollo a la Brasa, the delicious spit-roasted chicken made popular by so many Peruvian restaurants. The chicken is first marinated in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and spices, and then oven-roasted until tender, juicy and crisp-skinned. The accompanying green sauce, which gets its color from cilantro and jalapeño peppers, is spicy, creamy and downright addictive. You can put it on virtually everything, and it even makes a fabulous dip or salad dressing.
Before we get to the recipe, a few words on buying a whole chicken. In the poultry department, you’re likely to find birds labeled “broilers,” “roasters” and “fryers.” These labels are based on the weight of the bird, and are meant to suggest a method of cooking. This recipe calls for a four pound chicken, which is typically considered a “fryer.” This might seem strange since we’re roasting but don’t worry about it — all of these chickens can be used in recipes interchangeably.
Begin by making the marinade. Combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, cumin, and oregano in a blender or mini food processor.
Blend until smooth.
Using your fingers or a wooden spoon, loosen the skin over the breasts and legs of the chicken.
Spoon 2/3 of the marinade under the skin.
And rub the rest over top. Place the chicken in a bowl and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and set the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. I like to tuck the wings underneath the bird and tie the legs together so the bird hold its shape.
Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden, and then turn the heat down to 375 degrees and roast for about an hour and ten minutes more. Let the chicken rest, covered with foil, for about 20 minutes before carving.
While the chicken marinates, make the green sauce (recipe adapted from the Serious Eats Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt).
Simply combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.
And process until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. It will seem thin at first but, don’t worry, it will thicken up as it sits.
Keep in mind that the heat in the sauce comes from the ribs and seeds in the jalapeño peppers. I use about half of the seeds and ribs for a medium-hot sauce. If you’re worried about the heat, you can always leave them out at first and then blend them in to taste. (Also, be sure to wash your hands well after handling hot peppers, and do not touch your eyes while working with them.)
Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish the sauce with a sprig cilantro, if desired, and serve with the roasted chicken.
Note: The green sauce in this recipe is adapted from one of my favorite columns, the Serious Eats Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.
My Recipe Videos
Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with Green Sauce
For the Chicken
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 limes
- 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 pound whole chicken
For the Green Sauce
- 3 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded if desired (I use about half the seeds for a medium-hot sauce), and roughly chopped (see note)
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Chicken
- Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a blender or mini food processor, and blend until smooth. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken and pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels; place in a bowl, breast side up with the legs facing you. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or your fingers, loosen the skin from the flesh over the breasts and legs, being careful not to tear the skin or push all the way through (you want the marinade to stay inside the bird). Spoon about 2/3 of the marinade evenly underneath the skin, and spread the remaining 1/3 evenly over the skin. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Spray a rack (preferably a v-shape) with non-stick cooking spray and place the chicken on top. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees, and continue to roast for about an hour and ten minutes more, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. (Keep an eye on it -- if it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.) Tent the chicken with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes. Tilt the chicken over the roasting pan to release the juices, then transfer to a cutting board. Carve the chicken and serve with green sauce.
For the Green Sauce
- Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil. It will seem very runny at this point but, don't worry, it will thicken up as it sits. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Note: Be sure to wash your hands well after handling hot peppers, and do not touch your eyes while working with them.
- Note: The nutritional information does not include the green sauce.
- Per serving (4 servings)
- Calories: 1,095
- Fat: 79 g
- Saturated fat: 21 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Sugar: 3 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 85 g
- Sodium: 1,138 mg
- Cholesterol: 340 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.