I love Peruvian Roast Chicken and usually get my fix at Planet Chicken in Dunellen , NJ. When it’s cold and rainy outside , there is nothing better to make you feel that all is right with the world !! ( See my post of April 4, 2007). However , Planet Chicken is half an hour away and the last time we went there the chicken was burnt and not as good as I remembered it . My wife and I therefore started casting about for a way to replicate the experience at home .
Most recipes for Peruvian roast chicken call for the chicken to be brined, then marinated in a paste of vinegar , oil , lots of garlic , cumin powder, chile powder, paprika , soy sauce and sugar. The aji verde or green sauce that accompanies the chicken is a mixture of cotija cheese , cilantro , olive oil , chillies , red wine vinegar , kosher salt, cilantro and garlic. Some recipes even call for mayonnaise , sour cream , green onions , aji amarillo , lime juice , salt and pepper.
Just reading the recipes and looking at the accompanying photos had me salivating and one day I will try out the authentic recipe . What follows however is a ” Faux Peruvian ” meal with a minimum of cooking . It is not the ” real” thing and ,yes , I know it uses non -Peruvian ingredients but it fits the bill for those times when you don’t want to cook too much . Besides , it is quick and it is cheap.
I have long thought that one of the greatest bargains at Costco is the rotisserie chicken . At $ 4.99 for a whole bird, it is a real steal and remains hot for an hour or two after you bring it home . What we do is prepare the aji verde ( green sauce )ahead of time . Rather than tinker too much with the Costco chicken , we add extra garlic and vinegar when making the aji verde . We also prep the potatoes and finish them off as soon as we come home so that we can sit down to our ” Faux Peruvian” meal within half an hour of getting home . Here is a step by step description of the process:
I. Make the aji verde . In a little oil, fry the following ingredients : 3 chopped jalapenos ( deseeded *) , three scallions chopped ( green parts included) and half a small red onion , chopped . Saute’ till the rawness disappears and, towards the end of the frying process, add 3-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro , stems and all. In a food processor , blend together 1/2 cup mayonnaise , 1/4 cup sour cream ,and the fried garlic / jalapeno/ scallion / cilantro mixture adding lime juice , salt and pepper to taste. Careful with the lime juice.
2. Potatoes . Parboil three large potatoes . Drain and set aside before you go to Costco.
3. Go to Costco and buy the roast chicken .
4. On your return, peel the potatoes and cut into “large fingers ” like steak fries . Dust with salt and pepper , drizzle with oil and cook, covered, in a frying pan over medium heat . Sprinkle a little water on the potatoes as necessary to keep from burning and turn over them from time to time . Cook to the desired doneness.
5. As the potatoes are cooking , prepare a mixture of dry – roasted cumin powder and paprika ( or red chilly powder) to sprinkle over the roast chicken .
The chicken will still be hot when you sit down to your Faux Peruvian meal of Roast chicken with Green Sauce with a side of Pan fried potatoes.
Note: * If you like it hot , you can leave in some or all of the seeds in the jalapenos.