I was haunted by Peruvian spit-roasted chicken. It’s right up my alley - rotisserie chicken? I’m there. And the Internet kept talking about this fast food sensation sweeping the nation. But “sweeping” was an exaggeration - my nearest Peruvian chicken joint is a two and a half hour drive away in Columbus.
I wanted to make my own Peruvian chicken. But the recipes are few and far between, and none of them seem to agree on the ingredients. I resigned myself to waiting until I could taste the real thing.
Impatiently. I hate waiting.
Last year, while vacationing in Sonoma valley, I had my chance. I was looking for dinner, and saw Sazon Peruvian Cuisine. I dragged the wife and kids there, promising Diane a Pisco Sour and the kids all the french fries they could eat.
Peru is the birthplace of potatoes. I figured I was safe with that promise.
Pollo a la Brasa was worth the search. The spice rub had flavors I couldn’t place, so I pumped our host for information. He said there were 14 different spices in their marinade, including Coca-Cola. But the key, he said, was Aji - Peruvian peppers. I dutifully wrote that down.
Back from vacation, I was ready to go. Then I hit my next stumbling block - Aji is hard to find in Akron. Eventually I broke down and ordered a (very expensive) jar of Aji Amarillo pepper paste on the Internet.
And, of course, we had to have some drip pan Peruvian purple potatoes with the chicken. We can’t have Peruvian chicken without the potatoes.
OK, purple, red and white potatoes. But the purple potatoes were the hit of the show. The kids kept asking - Purple potatoes? Really?
Recipe: Rotisserie Peruvian Chicken (Pollo a la Brasa) with Drip Pan Purple Potatoes
Adapted from: Classic Pollo a la Brasa, [holypollo.com]
Cooking time: 60 minutes
- Grill with rotisserie attachment (I use a Weber Summit)
- 9 by 13 aluminum foil drip pan (or a enameled steel roasting pan)
- Butcher’s twine
- Blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix)
- 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons aji amarillo pepper paste (or 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Juice of ½ a lime
Drip pan potatoes
- 1 ½ pounds new potatoes (A mix of purple, red and white new potatoes), halved
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon aji amarillo pepper paste
1. Season the chicken
Drop the garlic and ginger into a running blender or food processor, and process until minced. Add the rest of the Peruvian Paste ingredients and blend into a thick paste. Rub the chicken with the paste, inside and out. Gently work your fingers under the skin on the breast, then rub some of the paste directly onto the breast meat. Put the chicken in a baking dish, then let it rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
2. Truss and spit the chicken
One hour before cooking, take the chicken out of the refrigerator. Fold the wingtips under the wings and truss the chicken. (Trussing instructions here). Skewer the chicken on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks. Let the chicken rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.
3. Set up the grill for indirect high heat
Set the grill up for indirect high heat, about 450°F, with the drip pan in the middle of the grill.
For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, setting the infrared burner to high, and preheating the grill for ten to fifteen minutes.
4. Rotisserie grill the chicken
Put the spit on the grill, start the motor spinning, and make sure the drip pan is centered beneath the chicken. Close the lid and cook until the chicken reaches 160°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour.
5. Drip pan potatoes
As soon as the chicken goes on the grill, toss the potatoes with the salt and aji paste in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for six minutes. Set the potatoes aside until the chicken has been cooking for 30 minutes, then remove the plastic wrap and pour the potatoes into the drip pan under the chicken. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and crispy, about 30 minutes. (The potatoes should be done about the same time as the chicken.)
Remove the chicken from the rotisserie spit and remove the twine trussing the chicken. Be careful - the spit and forks are blazing hot. Remove the drip pan, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a platter. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, carve, and serve.
- As you can see in the pictures, I doubled the chicken part of the recipe. I love having leftover chicken later in the week.
- If you can’t find Aji Amarillo paste (or aren’t willing to spend $10 to have a jar shipped, which is what I had to do), substitute a stemmed and seeded jalapeno. It won’t have the same taste, but it will give some pepper and heat flavors to the sauce.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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