Pollo a la Brasa

In Lima, the capital of Peru, cooks have perfected this piquant version of roasted chicken, which is traditionally made on a rotisserie but can be grilled as well.

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  • Makes: 4 servings
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Marinate: 8 hrs to 24 hrs
  • Roast: 1 hr 375°F

Pollo a la Brasa

Directions

Brine:

  1. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Starting from the neck end, use kitchen shears to make a lengthwise cut down one side of the backbone. Repeat to cut lengthwise on the opposite side of the backbone. Remove and discard the backbone. Turn chicken, skin side up, and press down between the breast pieces to break the breast bone. Flatten the chicken as much as possible with your hands. Use kitchen shears to remove the wing tips. Place chicken in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag set in a deep pot or dish.
  2. For brine, in a large bowl whisk together 1 cup of the water and the 2 tablespoons kosher salt, whisking until salt dissolves. Add the remaining 1 cup water, the beer, soy sauce, honey, and garlic. Stir to combine. Pour over chicken in the bag. Seal bag.
  3. Brine in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. Remove chicken from brine; discard brine.

Rub:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For the rub, in a small bowl combine chili powder, paprika, the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, the cumin, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Use your hands to loosen the skin over the breast pieces and thighs of the chicken. Using your fingers, rub the rub mixture under the skin, on top of the skin, and on the underside of the chicken. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast chicken about 1 hour or until chicken is done (at least 170 degrees F in thigh). Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil; let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into quarters.

Smashed Fries:

  1. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine potatoes and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes.
  2. Cool potatoes slightly. Using a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy glass, lightly press down on each potato to smash to about 1/2-inch thickness, keeping each potato in one piece. Drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. While the chicken is resting, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Transfer smashed potatoes to the roasting pan; if desired, add green onions to roasting pan. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and crisp and green onions are tender, turning once. (Remove green onions before potatoes if they are overbrowning.)
  4. Serve chicken with potatoes and green onions, if using. If desired, serve with Aji Sauce.

From the Test Kitchen

Grilling

For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until chicken is done (170 degrees F in the thigh). Place smashed potatoes (and green onions if using) in a vegetable grill basket. Add grill basket to grill over direct heat for the last 20 to 30 minutes of grilling time or until golden brown and edges are crisp, turning occasionally. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Place chicken over burner that is off. Later place potatoes [and green onions if using] over burner that is on. Grill as above.)

Aji Sauce

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor combine mayonnaise, Aji Amarillo, jalapeno, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. Cover and blend or process until smooth.
  2. *If you do not have Aji Amarillo, use one half of an orange sweet pepper that has been roasted and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. To roast the pepper, cut sweet pepper lengthwise; remove stem, seeds, and membranes. Place pepper half, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until charred. Bring foil up around pepper to enclose. Let stand about 15 minutes or until cool. Use a sharp knife to loosen edges of the skins; gently pull off the skin in strips and discard.
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Nutrition Facts (Pollo a la Brasa)

  • Per serving:
  • 637 kcal ,
  • 41 g fat
  • (11 g sat. fat ,
  • 8 g polyunsaturated fat ,
  • 19 g monounsaturated fat ),
  • 172 mg chol. ,
  • 1043 mg sodium ,
  • 20 g carb. ,
  • 3 g fiber ,
  • 2 g sugar ,
  • 45 g pro.
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