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Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roast Chicken)

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The famous and incredibly finger-lickin’ delicious Peruvian roast chicken!  A variety of spices and ingredients come together to create a mouthwatering flavor combination.  The skin is perfectly crispy and the chicken is served with an amazing homemade aji verde sauce.  This Pollo a la Brasa recipe is a guaranteed winner!

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

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 roast 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.

What is Pollo a la Brasa?

Pollo a la brasa is a Peruvian dish of roast chicken commonly served with aji verde sauce.  It’s a fairly recent creating, dating back to the 1940’s when a Swiss immigrant to Peru named Roger Schuler started breeding chickens and in an effort to make extra money decided to start roasting some of his chickens and selling them to the public at a low cost an on an all-you-can eat basis.  (Delicious food + low cost + all you can eat = sounds great to me!)  He eventually opened a restaurant at his farm and as far as I am aware it is still in operation.

My recipe comes by way of special request from Lajoiedu (“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 fragrance 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?  Oh yes!  It tastes phenomenal!

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

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!  For 4 consecutive days thereafter he kept asking for more Pollo a la Brasa and was bitterly disappointed (to the point of throwing a near tantrum once) when offered a substitute chicken dish!  We’ve created something of a Pollo a la Brasa obsession 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 this Pervuvian roast chicken, I’m confident you’ll do the same.

Tips for Making Pollo a la Brasa

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 regular oven to achieve that perfectly crispy skin while leaving the meat delicately tender and juicy.

Two quick things:  I use the convection setting on my oven for this.  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!

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

Pollo a la Brasa Recipe

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).

chili pastes

Combine all of the marinade ingredients.

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

making the marinade

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.

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

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.

marinating the chicken

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.

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

chicken pieces on roasting rack

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 165 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 or until the internal temp reads 165 degrees F.  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.  It’s not necessary but it’s often recommended.

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

Serve with our homemade Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce.  There are often two additional sauces served with Pollo a la Brasa, but Aji Verde is the standard.

Aji Verde Sauce recipe

Traditional side dishes include a leafy green salad and thickly cut French fries.

Enjoy!

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

For more delicious chicken dishes from around the world be sure to try our:

pollo a la brasa recipe peruvian roast chicken peru bbq barbecue grilled authentic traditional aji verde sauce huacatay

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roast Chicken)

The famous and phenomenally finger-licking delicious roast chicken from Peru! 
4.99 from 62 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 6
Calories 308 kcal

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
  • 1/4 cup dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons huacatay paste
  • 1 tablespoon aji panca paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground annatto , for the red color
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper , more or less according to heat preference
  • Aji Verde Sauce , for serving

Instructions
 

  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • 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.
  • If using a convection oven (that's what I use for crispier skin): 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 or until the internal temp reads 165 degrees F.
    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.
    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.
  • Serve the chicken with our homemade Aji Verde Sauce. Traditional sides include thickly cut French fries and a leafy green salad.

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 24gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 671mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 261IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Peruvian Roast Chicken, Pollo a la Brasa
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet September 26, 2013

 

 

 

 

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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Recipe Rating




4.99 from 62 votes (47 ratings without comment)

91 Comments

  1. Loved this chicken! I marinated the chicken for 24 hours, it came out soo tender, juicy and flavorful. My husband and I felt like your little boy, we couldn’t stop eating it. The sauce is excellent as well. I want to try this marinade on turkey, pork and cornish hens.

  2. I love food. I love Peruvian chicken. Lots of peruvian chicken recipes on the internet but this one is the best. Just unbelievable and the highlight of the week when I make it. I cook it standing up on a charcoal grill with indirect heat. Sometimes we add soaked wood chips for part of the cooking. Thank you for this amazing recipe!!!

  3. This was so good! I’d never tried Peruvian food before, but I do like to try different cuisines. I can’t handle anything too spicy, but this wasn’t too spicy for me. And the sauce was also delicious! I followed the directions to the letter and the chicken came out perfectly. Crispy skin and tender meat. And the Peruvian ingredients really give it an authentic flavor.

  4. This recipe sounds amazing but I was wondering if it is spicy at all? As I don’t want to give it to my three year old.

    1. Hi MJ, no, it really isn’t very spicy at all. Aji panca is a chili paste but you only use a tablespoon and it’s a pretty mild chili to begin with. I actually made this for my kids when they were 3 years old and they didn’t fuss at all :)

  5. Yo también soy peruano y me gusta prepara el pollo a la brasa de diferentes maneras (hay muchas recetas y se respeta) y tu receta me gusto y el vinagre balsámico le dió un toque distinto y me salió riquísimo.

  6. I used two Cornish hens and the recipe turned out delicious. Everything was gone, eaten to the bone.

  7. Hi, in the list of ingredients for the marinade you didn’t indicate amount of ají amarillo.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. I just wanted to say thank you so much, I make your recipe for my husband (he born in Peru) and we live in the USA and where we live there are no restaurants with Peruvian food (not pretty close) so thank you so much for this, everything is so amazing and delicious! I’m from Venezuela and I love to cook, God bless you!

  9. I tried this for the first time last night and it was amazing! I used bone in, skin on split chicken breasts and the meat was juicy and the skin crisped up nicely. I made the sauce as well and it was fantastic but i have quite a bit left over. Any ideas what else the sauce would go with? I was thinking swordfish steaks.

  10. This is cooking right now. Smells awesome. However, I did as instructed and did convection on 475 for 10 min and 325 for 15 and it was not at ALL done cooking. We are currently at 45 minutes at 325 and it’s starting to look done.

  11. So so so delicious! And the sauce too is amazing. My only criticism is that there is no nutritional info provided. I’m feeding my grandfather and I need to monitor his caloric intake as well as sodium and other nutritional info for his health. Any chance you could provide nutritional information for this recipe and for the sauce as well. It would be much appreciated 🙂🙂🙂

  12. Hola soy peruana , y como sabras nuestra comida, ingredientes y forma de prepararlas es netamente tradicion , te aconsejo que visites una tienda peruana y veas realmente los ingredientes del pollo al horno , tengo entendido que se uso lima o limon , e imagino fue para reemplazar el vinagre tinto, pero solo el limon local de peru por la concentracion y sabor del acido podria , prueba sin vinagre balsamico :)

  13. We recently attended a wedding weekend in Durham, NC. “Alpaca Peruvian Chicken” (name of a local restaurant – no alpaca involved) was served at the relaxed rehearsal dinner. The Best Chicken I’ve ever had! I’m hoping this recipe produces a similar result.

  14. Finally made this after getting the ingredients off Amazon. What an awesome recipe! Chicken was delicious and the green sauce was spot on. Will definitely be my go to recipe for rotisserie from now on. Thanks for sharing!