Monday, December 3, 2012

Peruvian Garlic-Lime Chicken

I recently re-discovered my older Cook's Illustrated magazines.  I have actually catalogued all of them into an Excel sheet (really), but when I was flipping through one of the hard copies to find a gingerbread cake recipe, I stumbled on so many delicious-sounding recipes.  It's probably not that surprising since Cook's Illustrated does have amazing recipes, but when I found this Peruvian chicken recipe, I immediately put it on the next week's menu plan. 

I think Peruvian chicken is SO good. I used to work across the street from this hole-in-the-wall Peruvian chicken place, and, every couple of months, my co-workers and I would treat ourselves to it.  When we moved to California, however, I couldn't find any Peruvian chicken restaurants where we were.  Even though we are back on the East coast, I still wanted to try my hand at making Peruvian chicken at home. 

My husband and I actually don't like dark meat, so instead of roasting a whole chicken, I only roasted the bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.  It turned out amazing.  I thought the marinade was incredibly flavorful, the skin was nice and crisp, and the meat was really juicy.  The sauce was good too, although I didn't follow the recipe perfectly -- instead of making my own mayo, I simply combined the rest of the ingredients with Greek yogurt.  I couldn't decide if I liked the chicken better plain or with the sauce so I just kept alternating bites. 

I served this with black beans and a salad.  I'm really looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today, but, more importantly, I'm now set to get my Peruvian chicken fix.

Peruvian Garlic-Lime Chicken
Taken from: Cook's Illustrated, Mar-Apr 2011
Serves 6-8 (I halved this and used bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts instead)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest and lime juice (¼ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced serrano or habanero chile (I am too much of a wimp so I used one jalapeno, minced, instead
  • 1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) whole chicken (I only used bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts)
  • 1 12-ounce can of beer (I omitted since I was only doing chicken breasts)
  1. In a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients except the chicken until a smooth paste forms, about 10 to 20 seconds. Using your fingers carefully loosen the skin over thighs and breast and remove any excess fat. Rub half of paste beneath skin of chicken and spread entire paste on the exterior. Place chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock bag and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.
  1. Vertical roasting: (Cook's Illustrated way for whole chicken) When ready to bake chicken, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place beer can or vertical roaster in roasting pan. Pour half the beer into a Pyrex measuring cup, and save it for later. Slide chicken onto the beer so the chicken stands upright and breast is perpendicular to the bottom of the pan. Roast the chicken until skin turns golden brown and instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees, about 45 to 55 minutes. Carefully remove chicken and roasting pan from oven and increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. When oven has heated up to 500 degrees, place the remaining beer in bottom of pan and return chicken to oven. Roast until entire skin is browned and crisp and instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove chicken from oven and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest on beer can for 20 minutes. Using tongs, carefully lift chicken off beer can and onto cutting board. Carve chicken and serve.
  2. Pan-Roasting (I found this method worked really well when just using cuts of chicken, like just chicken breasts): Heat the oven to 450°F. Line a broiler pan with foil and set a wire rack on top of it. Place the breasts on the rack and roast until the skin is golden brown and the meat is cooked through, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with spicy sauce.
 SPICY SAUCE: (I actually used Greek yogurt instead of making my own mayo)
  • 1 large egg (or ¼ cup egg substitute) - I used 2% Greek yogurt instead
  • 2 tablespoon water (I omitted because I was using Greek yogurt instead)
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil (I omitted because I was using Greek yogurt instead)
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon canned pickled jalapeno, minced (I used a jalapeno hot sauce instead)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1.  Process all ingredients except oil in a food processor until finely chopped. With the food processor running, carefully add the oil in a steady stream until a smooth mayonnaise-like consistency.
  2. If using Greek yogurt: combine all ingredients in a bowl (you can process in a food processor if you'd like but honestly, I didn't want to have to clean it).


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