You know those little chicken joints you drive by every day and wonder about? The ones with all the pick up trucks parked outside at 10 in the morning? The ones with all the families dashing in for their carry-out? The ones that seem to be keeping a dying strip mall alive? That was the Peruvian chicken place in my old neighborhood. Where I discovered Inca cola (super sweet!) and the joys of delicious, greasy, limey, spicy, perfectly-done Peruvian-style roto chicken. I can’t exactly reproduce that take-out chicken at home (among other things, I don’t have a rotisserie) but this oven-baked version is fast, easy, and quite tasty in its own right.
I use chicken thighs for this dish because I love them and I think the dark meat has more flavor. But if you like white meat, you can use chicken breasts. I recommend leaving the bone and skin on for cooking purposes. But if you must remove the skin for health reasons, I understand. Please do it after the dish is done, though. You’ll thank me later.
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs with skin (approx 4 pounds)
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or tabasco sauce if that's what you have)
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- For Green Sauce
- 3 large scallions, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 cup sliced serrano chile (remove some of the seeds and ribs unless you like it suuuper hot)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbled - about 1/2 cup
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup half and half
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
Combine the cilantro, soy, lime juice, vegetable oil, cumin, paprika, garlic and cayenne in a blender. Puree. Add this marinade to the chicken in a large, sealable plastic bag. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Turn it over and let sit for 15 minutes more. If you wish, you can also marinate this in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Place the chicken pieces on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes (maybe a bit less if you are using white meat), or until crispy and cooked through. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with Green Sauce and a bit of fresh cilantro. The green sauce is what makes it!
For Green Sauce
Mix scallions, chile, lime juice, goat cheese, vegetable oil, salt, and half-and-half in a blender until smooth. Et voila