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    Peruvian Chicken Recipe (Pollo a la Brasa)

    Published April 12, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This delicious Peruvian Chicken Recipe is marinated with spices, herbs, and soy sauce overnight and roasted to perfection for an extremely flavorful dish. You will immediately fall in love with this chicken once you see how easy it is to make and how tasty it is.

    We eat chicken several times a week in our house. It’s quick to prepare, it’s a great lean protein, and it doesn’t break the bank. If you are similar, check out my Chicken Parmigiana or Chicken Biryani.

    peruvian chicken on a sheet tray


     

    Peruvian Chicken

    Peruvian Chicken, or pollo Peruano, simply known in Perú as pollo a la brasa, is a native dish of whole spice and herb-marinated chicken roasted on a spit or rotisserie until golden brown. It is one of Perú’s more popular dishes and is commonly served with fried potatoes or pommes frites.

    This dish became popular during the 1950s by Swiss immigrants who owned a chicken farm in Santa Clara, Perú. When the business was close to closing, one of the owners opened a restaurant and focused on roasted chicken. They experimented with marinade and coal-fire cooking procedures and eventually settled on the popular pollo a la brasa. Now, it is served across restaurants throughout Perú.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    peruvian chicken ingredients
    • Chicken — This recipe classically uses and cooks a whole chicken. However, you can fabricate a chicken into drums, thighs, breasts, and wings or use all thighs, drums, or breasts.
    • Rosemary – Fresh rosemary is used in the marinade. You can substitute 1 to 1 with dry.
    • Ginger – Fresh peeled ginger adds some wonderful spicy, citrus flavors.
    • Spices – I used a combination of cumin and coriander in this dish.
    • Vinegar — Red wine vinegar is the classic vinegar to use. You can substitute with balsamic, white wine, cider, or distilled vinegar.
    • Oil – I used olive oil, but any neutral-flavored oil will work.
    • Soy Sauce – Any good soy sauce, such as tamari, will work. You can also use low-sodium soy to cut back on salt. Feel free to substitute with coconut aminos if you are soy-free.
    • Garlic – Several garlic cloves are added to the marinade. You can substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic granules or powder.
    • Huacatay — This is a marigold that produces leaves known as black mint. It is hard to find in the United States and can be substituted with equal parts minced fresh cilantro and mint.
    • Aji Panca – This is a pepper indigenous to Perú and has a Scoville of 1,000 to 1,500. You can purchase the paste or even the dried pepper version. You can easily substitute with a dried ancho chili, which is readily available in the United States. 

    How to Make Peruvian Chicken

    Add the seeds to a medium-sized sauté pan and cook over low to medium heat.

    toasting seeds in a pan

    Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and grind until finely ground.

    grinding seeds with a mortar and pestle

    Next, add the garlic and ginger and grind using the pestle.

    grinding seeds with garlic and ginger in a mortar

    Add the rosemary, huacatay, vinegar, soy, oil, and aji panca, and mix until combined. Taste it and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

    mixing huacatay and spicy peppers in a mortar

    Alternatively, to the huacatay, grind 3 to 4 large fresh mint leaves.

    grinding spices and mint

    To replace the aji panca, remove the stem and seeds from 1 dried acho chili.

    removing seeds from a chili

    Add it to a small pan and cook it on a middle rack at 275° for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the chili cool slightly, then add it right to the mortar and pestle and grind it along with the other ingredients.

    crisp chili in a pan

    Rinse and pat dry the chicken and place it in a large bowl.

    patting dry a chicken

    Pour all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the marinade over the chicken.

    adding a marinade to a chicken

    Coat the chicken inside the cavity, outside, and under the skin as best you can.

    rubbing a chicken with marinade

    Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 72 hours.

    covering a chicken with plastic wrap

    Tuck the wings behind the chicken and tie the legs together using butcher’s twine.

    trussing a chicken

    Place it on a rack in a pan and pour in 2 cups of water or chicken stock.  

    adding stock to a pot with chicken

    Bake it in a preheated oven on a middle rack at 400° for 70 to 75 minutes or until well browned and cooked throughout.

    roasted chicken in an oven

    You can also heat 1 side of a grill over high heat and cook the chicken in the pan on the other side of the grill where there is no heat underneath and cook it for the same time and temperature.

    roasting a chicken on a grill

    Let the chicken rest uncovered.

    resting a roasted chicken

    Brush it with the remaining marinade.

    brushing a roasted chicken with a marinade

    Try serving with Aji Verde Peruvian Green Sauce.

    aji vere with chicken

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 30 minutes ahead of time. Just keep it covered in a pan in the oven or in a grill at low temperatures (<200°).

    How to Store: Place covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of Peruvian chicken to a 13×9 casserole dish with ½ cup of water and cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until hot.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • While this can be cooked on this grill or in an oven, the most traditional way to prepare it would have been in a rotisserie or a spit over an open fire.
    • Toasting seed spices makes them more aromatic and flavorful.
    • You can also grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder.
    • The marinade should be extremely flavorful.
    • The longer the marinade, the more flavorful the chicken will be.
    • This would be traditionally cooked on a rotisserie. If you have one, please use it following the times and temperatures in the recipe.
    • If you do not have a rack for a pan, alternatively, add 6 thick slices of onion for the chicken to sit on.
    • Cooking on a rack with liquid underneath greatly helps to keep the chicken moist as it cooks, similar to cooking on a rotisserie.

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    Peruvian Chicken Recipe (Pollo a la Brasa)

    5 from 11 votes
    This Peruvian Chicken Recipe is marinated with spices, herbs, and soy sauce and then roasted to perfection for an extremely flavorful dish.
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 12 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 ” peeled chunk of fresh ginger
    • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon huacatay, or 3-4 fresh mint leaves
    • 1 ½ tablespoons aji panca, or 1 dried ancho chili
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Add the cumin and coriander seeds to a medium-sized sauté pan and cook over low to medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes while occasionally stirring.
    • Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and grind until finely ground.
    • Next, add the garlic and ginger and grind using the pestle until finely minced. It’s ok if there are some bigger pieces.
    • Add the rosemary, huacatay, vinegar, soy, oil, and aji panca, and mix until combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
    • Alternatively, to the huacatay, grind in 3 to 4 large fresh mint leaves.
    • To replace the aji panca, remove the stem and seeds from 1 dried acho chili. Next, add it to a small pan and cook it on a middle rack at 275° for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the chili cool slightly or just until it becomes crunchy, then add it to the mortar and pestle and grind until finely ground along with the other ingredients.
    • Rinse and pat dry inside and outside of the chicken and place it in a large bowl.
    • Pour all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the marinade over the chicken. Reserve those few tablespoons for later.
    • Coat the chicken inside the cavity, on the outside, and under the skin as best you can.
    • Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 72 hours.
    • When it’s done marinating, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to remove the chill.
    • Tuck the wings behind the chicken and then tie the legs together using butcher’s twine.
    • Place it on a rack in a pan and pour in 2 cups of water or chicken stock.
    • Classically this would be cooked on a rotisserie. If you have one, please use it following the times and temperatures below. Alternatively, Bake it in a preheated oven on a middle rack at 400° for 70 to 75 minutes or until well browned and cooked throughout. The juices should run clear, and the thickest part of the chicken should read 162° to 163° when pulling it from the oven.
    • You can also heat 1 side of a grill over high heat and cook the chicken in the pan on the other side of the grill where there is no heat underneath and cook it for the same time and temperature.
    • Let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered. Brush with the remaining marinade. Try serving with Aji Verde Peruvian Green Sauce.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 30 minutes ahead of time. Just keep it covered in a pan in the oven or in a grill at low temperatures (<200°).
    How to Store: Place covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of Peruvian chicken to a 13×9 casserole dish with ½ cup of water and cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until hot.
    While this can be cooked on this grill or in an oven, the most traditional way to prepare it would have been in a rotisserie or a spit over an open fire.
    Toasting seed spices makes them more aromatic and flavorful.
    You can also grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder.
    The marinade should be extremely flavorful.
    The longer the marinade, the more flavorful the chicken will be.
    This would be traditionally cooked on a rotisserie. If you have one, please use it following the times and temperatures in the recipe.
    If you do not have a rack for a pan, alternatively, add 6 thick slices of onion for the chicken to sit on.
    Cooking on a rack with liquid underneath greatly helps to keep the chicken moist as it cooks, similar to cooking on a rotisserie.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 577kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 38gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 897mgPotassium: 564mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1811IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 3mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: Peruvian