When it comes to Peruvian chicken, it’s all about the green sauce. Sure, the tender chicken, kissed with the smoke of a live fire and a hint of spices and garlic is finger licking good on its own, but it’s that green sauce—spicy, tangy, and cooling is what makes it distinctively Peruvian.
The sauce is easy to make. A tangy mayonnaise base pepped up with a squeeze of lime, the heat of fresh jalapeños and a big handful of cilantro. A balanced combination of salty, acidic, spicy, and creamy.
Here’s my recipe.
For the Sauce:
3 Roughly chopped jalapeño peppers
1 cup Fresh cilantro leaves
2 Garlic cloves minced
½ Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
1 Tsp White vinegar
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Amarillo pepper paste or chipotle in adobo
* Available in Latin markets
Salt & Pepper
For the Chicken:
1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
2 Tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp Ground cumin
2 Tbsp Smoked paprika
1 Tsp Freshly ground black pepper
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp White vinegar
2 Tbsp Vegetable or canola oil
For the Green Sauce:
Combine jalapeños, Amarillo paste or chipotle, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and vinegar in the jar of a blender.
Blend on high speed until smooth.
With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Sauce will be quite loose at this point but will thicken as it sits.
Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels
Combine salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, garlic, vinegar, and oil in a small bowl.
Spread mixture evenly over all surfaces of chicken
Let marinate overnight in refrigerator or for at least 2 hours.
At this point the chicken can either be baked at 350F for 1 hour or until cooked or barbecued on the grill.
For the Grill
The key here is to moderate your heat. Either set the coals of the grill all on one side so you have a cool spot, put the chicken on the top rack of the grill, farther away from the heat. If you have a gas grill, keep one side on high and turn one side down to lowest setting. Slow and low makes the best Peruvian grilled chicken.
It will take at least an hour, and even up to 2 hours.
Prepare the grill to hot
Place chicken skin-side down on the hot side of the grill to sear about 5 minutes depending on how hot the grill is.
Turn one side of grill to low and move the chicken pieces, skin side up to the cool side of the grill.
Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for 20-30 minutes.
Turn the chicken pieces over and continue cooking
Cover the grill and allow to cook for another 30 minutes.
Repeat, turning the chicken pieces, covering, and cooking for another 30 minutes.
Finish cooking on the hot side of grill skin side down for 2-3 minutes. Careful not to burn the crispy skin
Chicken is done when juices run clear or it reaches an internal temperature of 165F
With Green sauce and Island corn