It’s a fact – Peruvians love chicken. Any visitor can’t help to notice the signs for Peruvian roast chicken, with “pollo broaster” and “pollo a la brasa” seemingly on every corner! My family in Ecuador call their Peruvian relatives pollos (chickens) because of their food obsession – and the Peruvians call the Ecuadorians monos (monkeys) – although I’ve never really understood why, as they certainly don’t eat those in Ecuador!
Anyway, I digress. What’s important to know about these little family-run food outlets all over Peru is that they really do know how to make great chicken. Often cooked in a wood-fired oven, the marinades – which vary from place to place – make the chicken juicier, more succulent, and give a rich flavour that complements the meat. Our marinade uses two of our favourite ingredients to give a smoky, herby flavour, and this makes an excellent barbecue marinade too – perfect enjoyed with a cold Inka Cola on a hot summer’s day!
- Whole chicken for roasting, skin on
- 2 tablespoons huacatay black mint paste
- 1 tablespoon aji panca smoky chilli paste
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- First you need to prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, mix the huacatay paste, aji panca paste, crushed garlic and salt.
- Pop the chicken into a roasting tray. Use your fingers to rub the marinade into the chicken. For the best results, you should be rubbing the marinade into the skin but also under the skin where you can so that the flavour infuses more deeply.
- Set the chicken aside for at least 40 minutes so the marinade has time to do its magic! The longer you leave it, the deeper the flavour. If you’re leaving it for loner, pop it in the fridge, but take out about 30 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking.
- When you’re ready to cook, pop the chicken into a preheated oven at 200C. Depending on the size of your chicken it should take about 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Carve your chicken and serve with accompaniments of your choice – potatoes, chips and rice all work well.