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Peruvian Roast Chicken

An enameled cast-iron gratin dish or a heavy frying pan is a nice choice for this Peruvian roast chicken. After the chicken is cooked, the pan juices can be made into a sauce in the same pan. If you like, you can soak the red onion for the salad in an ice water bath for 10 minutes, then drain it and pat it dry before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients; this takes away most of the bite.–Mindy Fox

LC Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just the Right Size Note

Following up on what author Mindy Fox mentioned above, we’ve roasted hens in all manner of roasting pans and baking dishes and cast-iron skillets. As such, we can attest to the fact that the size does indeed matter. Too snug a vessel and the chicken skin along the sides and bottom of your hen will turn soggy rather than shatteringly crisp. Too large a dish and the lovely jus will evaporate in a hot oven. (And trust us, you don’t want to miss a drop of these lovely, if perhaps slightly untraditional, pan juices.) What you need is something that’s not too big, not too small, but just the right size. We find that something along the lines of a 12- to 14-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet works quite nicely.

Peruvian Roast Chicken Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the chicken
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Fine sea salt
  • One 4-pound whole chicken
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • For the salad
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes to lessen its bite
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 large lime)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions

  • Make the roast chicken
  • 1. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Using the flat side of the knife’s blade, scrape and chop and mash the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a paste.
  • 2. Pull off any excess fat surrounding the cavity of the chicken and discard it. Rinse and pat the chicken dry, inside and out, and place the chicken on a plate. Rub the chicken all over with 2 of the lemon quarters, then discard the lemon quarters.
  • 3. Slip a finger under the chicken skin at the edge of the cavity and run it along the breasts and thighs to gently loosen the skin. Gently work a little of the garlic paste between the chicken skin and meat, being careful not to tear the skin and rubbing your hand along the surface of the skin to smooth the paste and push it past where you can reach with your hand.
  • 4. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the wine, the oil, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and oregano. Place the chicken in a 2-gallon resealable bag or a baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Turn the bird several times to coat. Seal the bag or cover the chicken and refrigerate for 5 to 8 hours, turning the chicken once or twice if you think of it.
  • 5. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
  • 6. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish or heavy frying pan (see LC Note preceding the recipe), pouring the marinade into a small bowl and scraping any thick bits of spices that cling to the container into the bowl. Squeeze the 2 remaining lemon quarters into the cavity of the bird and toss the lemon quarters into the cavity. If desired, tie the legs together with kitchen string. Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of salt. Set the reserved marinade aside.
  • 7. Roast the bird in the oven for 15 minutes, then baste with some of the marinade. Reduce the heat to 375ºF (190°C) and continue to roast, basting every 20 minutes with the marinade and the pan juices, for an hour. Discard the marinade. Then roast for 15 minutes more, for a total of 1 1/2 hours, until the juices of the chicken run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165ºF (74°C). Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven.
  • Make the salad
  • 8. A little while before you take the chicken from the oven, peel and halve each avocado. Remove the pits and cube the avocados. Place the avocados, onion, cilantro, lime juice, oil and a generous pinch of salt in a bowl and toss to coat the avocado with lime juice. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Get the food on the table
  • 9. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. If you have a fat separator, now’s the time to use it. If you don’t have one, tip the baking dish so you can see the oil separating from the pan juices. Using a soup spoon, skim off and discard most of the oil. Place the baking dish over medium-high heat and bring the juices to a simmer. Add the remaining wine and simmer, scraping any bits from the bottom and sides of the dish, simmer for 3 minutes. (If your baking dish isn’t flameproof, pour the juices into a saucepan and proceed with the simmering.)
  • 10. Carve the bird, toss the avocado salad once again, and pour the pan sauce into a serving bowl to pass on the side.
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