Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roasted Chicken)

pollo a la brassa recipe peruvian authentic roasted chicken spicy crispy skin marinade homemade easy

Did you know that Peruvian cuisine was listed among the top 3 of the nation’s hottest foods this year?  And did you know that Pollo a la Brasa was ranked #1 as the most popular dish in Peru?  There is even a designated national day for it in July!  Yes, Peruvians love their famous roasted chicken, and so do we!!  

Now you can make it at home and it’s so simple!  Make the marinade, let the chicken marinate, roast the chicken in the oven…that’s it!  Oh, and take an extra 5 minutes to make a lovely Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce to accompany the chicken (recipe provided).  SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

 

This recipe comes by way of special request from Lajoiedu Chant (“Make a Request!“) who wanted a recipe that imitated the Pollo a la Brasa she and her husband enjoy at a local restaurant.  Her description of this dish is beautiful.

“It is the most delicious chicken I have ever eaten…The marinade is full of spices and herbs. I can tell it’s been brined/marinated. The coating/marinade also seems to stick to the skin even through the roasting process. It is fragrant, too. I would loosely describe this as herbaceous, savory, well spiced (without being overly spicy from capsicum), somewhat salty, and just as juicy as one can imagine. The skin is beautifully crisp, too.”

Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

With such detailed specifications and no aspect left out – everything from flavor to texture to aroma to appearance – I’ll admit I kind of gulped for a second at the thought of such an undertaking.  But you know how I love challenges and this one left me feeling inspired!

So with my two little ones running around me, finger-painting the kitchen window, squashing Play-Doh on the floor, and banging pots and pans, I got to work.

Now, I have no idea whether this tastes anything like Pollo a la Brasa at that particular restaurant she described.  And really, it’s not going to taste the same without the special wood-coaled rotisserie’s they use.  But is the end result authentic Peruvian in its flavor profile?  Yes.  And does it taste good?  Yes.  

It tastes phenomenal!

Pollo a la Brasa

And let me add this:  I have never seen my 3 year old devour chicken as fast as he did this Pollo a la Brasa!  And he kept asking for more and more!  And get this:  For 4 consecutive days thereafter he kept asking for more Pollo a la Brasa and was bitterly disappointed (to the point of throwing a tantrum once) when offered a substitute chicken dish!  We’ve created something of a Pollo a la Brasa addict in our son and he has since been suffering withdrawal symptoms!

So yes, it looks like Pollo a la Brasa is going to be a regular in the Killebrew home from now on.

And once you’ve tried it, I’m confident you’ll do the same.

So let’s get down to business, shall we?

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Besides a great marinade, the key to great Pollo a la Brasa is the actual cooking method which involves a rotisserie over wood coals to give it that sublime smoky flavor.  Most of us don’t have the equipment necessary for that, so this recipe uses a conventional oven to achieve that perfectly crispy skin while leaving the meat delicately tender and juicy.  So this is the best it’s going to get without a wood-coaled rotisserie – and it’s really good!

Two quick things:  I used the convection setting on my oven.  It really made the skin crispy while leaving the meat tender and moist.  You don’t have to use a convection oven, but if you do, be sure to keep an eye on the chicken because it cooks much faster than in a conventional oven (see instructions).  The other thing:  You must use a roasting rack.  That allows the air and heat to circulate under and around the chicken to prevent the chicken from sitting in its juices and to produce the crispy skin and even cooking.

And of course, for all you BBQ’ers, barbecuing is another great alternative!

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Let’s get started!

You’re going to need 3 key Peruvian ingredients (2 chili pastes and a black mint paste from an herb indigenous to Peru).  I picked these up at a local Mexican grocery store.  If you don’t have one, you can purchase them online here:  Aji Panca Paste, Aji Amarillo Paste, Huacatay Paste.  (You’ll need the Aji Amarillo paste for the Aji Verde Dipping Sauce that is traditionally served with the chicken).

Pollo a la Brasa prep 1

Combine all of the marinade ingredients.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 2

In a food processor, blend it to a smooth puree.  Yes, this is the magical concoction here.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 3

The marinade is enough for one whole chicken (you can either roast it whole or cut it in pieces).  But you can use whatever bone-in/skin-on chicken pieces you want.  This time I just used two leg quarters and a breast.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 4

Loosen the skin and rub some of the marinade under the skin.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 5

Then put the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag (or you may need to divide it in two bags) and pour the rest of the marinade over them.  Swish around to coat.  Marinate the chicken for at least 6 hours or overnight, turning it every now and then evenly marinate the chicken.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 6

Place some foil under the rack of a roasting pan (this will make cleanup much easier!).  You can get a good, inexpensive roasting pan HERE.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 7

Lay the chicken pieces on it.  Spoon some extra marinade over each piece.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 9

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (if using a convection oven, adjust the temperature and cooking time accordingly) and roast the chicken on the middle rack of the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer, about an hour.  If the skin begins to brown too much too fast, move the roasting pan to the bottom rack.  You can also reduce the oven temperature.

Note:  I used the convection setting on my oven.  If you have one, use it.  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and roast the chicken for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and roast the chicken for another 15-20 minutes.  I couldn’t believe how much faster the chicken cooked using the convection setting.  And the results were fantastic.

It is recommended that you tent the chicken with foil for 10-15 minutes before serving.  I didn’t see the need, but it is often recommended.

Pollo a la Brasa prep 10

Perfect in every way!

Pollo a la Brasa prep 11 Pollo a la Brasa Peruvian Roasted Chicken

Serve with Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce (click on link for recipe).  There are often two additional sauces served with Pollo a la Brasa, but Aji Verde is the standard.  Traditional side dishes include a leafy green salad and thickly cut French fries.

Pollo a la Brasa Aji Verde Sauce 2

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roasted Chicken)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 whole broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 pounds), or bone-in/skin-on chicken pieces of your choice
  • For the marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons huacatay paste
  • 1 tablespoon aji panca paste
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground annatto, for the red color
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less according to heat preference)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Loosen the skin on the chicken and rub some marinade under the skin. Place the chicken or chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over. Swish around to even coat the pieces. Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. If using a convection oven (that's what I used): Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and roast the chicken pieces for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and roast the chicken for another 15-20 minutes.
  4. If using a conventional oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and roast the chicken pieces on the middle rack of the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 160 degrees F, about an 45 minutes. If the skin begins to brown too much, move the roasting pan to the bottom rack. You can also reduce the oven temperature.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven. It is recommended that you tent the chicken with foil for 10-15 minutes before serving. If using a whole chicken, cut the chicken into serving pieces.
  6. Serve the chicken with Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce.
  7. Traditional sides include a leafy salad and thickly cut French fries.
Notes
* For all you BBQ'ers, this chicken is also fantastic barbecued over coals and wood chips!
* The oven-roasting instructions are for chicken pieces. If using a whole chicken, increase cooking time until internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees F.

Pollo a la Brasa

 

 

19 Responses

  1. wrote on

    Good timing. I had never eaten Peruvian food until last night when I went to Ceviche in Soho, London. Great food, ambiance and staff. Your Peruvian fare looks equally tasty.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you, chilliandmint!

  2. wrote on

    Oh, I can almost smell this. I cannot wait to get all of my supplies and make this recipe. Thank you from my toes for this! :)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      You’re very welcome! I really enjoyed experimenting with the flavors. Again, keep in mind, it’s not going taste like the one at the restaurant. Not having tried that one I can’t imitate the flavor. But this recipe includes all of the ingredients common to authentic Pollo a la Brasa and it’s made to Daring Gourmet specifications. :) So whether similar to the actual one you described or not, what I can say is that this Pollo a la Brasa is fantastic!

  3. Cindy Garretson

    wrote on

    It looks delectable! Can’t wait to try it!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks, Cindy! Looking forward to your feedback!

  4. wrote on

    Kimberly: I could not resist…I had to come here just to say that looking at these pictures made me insanely hungry! What a mouthwatering pollo!!!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Denise, I am so flattered that you stopped by!! And coming from you the compliment is especially meaningful :) Thank you!

  5. Pelusa

    wrote on

    It’s our preferred dish served here in Lima and comes with salad and a pile of french fries. Delicious.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hello, Pelusa! Lima has excellent taste! :) I hope to visit Peru someday and enjoy the Pollo a la Brasa – and many other dishes – while in your beautiful country!

  6. kaypeabrokebaker

    wrote on

    Thank you very much for posting this recipe. I am addicted to pollo a la brasa. While this recipe may not be exactly like the one at my favorite local Peruvian spot, it is still FANTASTIC! I hope you don’t mind that I will sharing this on my blog.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m happy that you want to share it on your blog. I’m sure you’re already aware of copyright laws, so please be sure to credit me if you’re adapting my recipe, and if you’re using my recipe as is, please don’t post it in full but instead provide a link to the recipe on my site. Thanks so much! -Kimberly

      • kaypeabrokebaker

        wrote on

        Thank you. I did make some adaptations to the recipe, but also linked to your recipe. Interestingly enough, I mentioned my experimentation to a Peruvian friend of mine last night, who told me that true Peruvian pollo a la brasa is only seasoned with five ingredients: salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and the fifth “is a secret.” Maybe I can get that fifth one out of him if I get him drunk enough, lol! No, that would be wrong…
        Thanks again!

        • The Daring Gourmet

          wrote on

          Thank you! You know, I’ve communicated with several Peruvians who have each told me different things with respect to the ingredients. But in looking over my final recipe, they’ve each given it a vote of authenticity. Through the extensive research I’ve done online about Peruvian cooking, looking into Peruvian cooking forums and articles, and in talking to several Peruvian people, I’d have to disagree with your friend. It’s like any traditional dish from any country – there will always be variations of the same thing (though all will generally contain some of the same key ingredients), and all can be equally authentic. Which variation a person chooses comes down to personal preference and taste. And of course what matters most is that it tastes amazing, right? :) Thanks again for making this and for the link. Happy cooking! Best, Kimberly

  7. wrote on

    […] my own, I tasked a Peruvian friend of mine with getting me a recipe.  She nabbed the recipe from The Daring Gourmet and told me that it sounded fairly close.  So, it was time to […]

  8. Andrea Kavanaugh

    wrote on

    Okay, I tried your recipe today on my Weber Kettle Rotisserie grill using lump hardwood charcoal. My only variation – I sprinkled garlic salt on the chicken just before I put it on over the coals. I didn’t have enough time to marinade the chicken for six hours or more as recommended. I think I was able to get in 2 hours, so I boiled the leftover marinade and basted the chicken as it rotated. What an amazing bird it turned out! It was soooo good. Juicy, tender and moist….with a crispy skin! Absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing thus recipe!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Fantastic, I’m so thrilled to hear that, Andrea!! And using the hardwood charcoal rotisserie grill – heavenly! Thank you for making this and for taking the time to leave feedback. Best, Kimberly

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