Cast Iron

Peruvian Style Roast Chicken with Roasted Garlic

February 25, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2 with leftovers
Author Notes

What's not to love about roast chicken? I have run the gamut cooking roast chicken from Marcella Hazan's Chicken with Two Lemons, Zuni Cafe's Dry Brined and Thomas Keller's high heat, no-fuss bird. Chef Keller taught me plenty, and it's with his excellent tutelage, I worked out this recipe. Peruvian style chicken was introduced to me at a hole in the wall lunch only spot in Virginia. It's been a favorite ever since. Leftovers, shredded, make a great quesadilla, taco or burrito filling. —MrsWheelbarrow

What You'll Need
  • Buttermilk Soak
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • one - 3 - 3.5 pounds chicken, rinsed and tidied up
  • Peruvian Style Rub
  • 1 medium head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika or smoked paprika, or a combination. depends how spicy you like your chicken.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 limes
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  1. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk brine for 3-4 hours. I use a ziplock bag as it's easier to get the buttermilk all around the chicken.
  2. Roast the head of garlic. Slice off the top of the head, exposing all the cloves. Drizzle the oil in between all the cloves, and wrap the whole thing up in foil. Bake for about an hour at 350. I use my toaster oven.
  3. Squeeze all the tasty roasted garlic out into a small mixing bowl. Add the butter and spices, and the juice of one of the limes, and make a paste.
  4. Remove the chicken & brine from the refrigerator. RInse the chicken and pat it dry. Rub the paste under the skin of the breast and thighs and then over the entire chicken. Tuck one or two quartered limes in the cavity and truss the chicken loosely.
  5. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature, and the paste to season the chicken, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 475 with the rack in the bottom third of the oven. In good weather, I use my outdoor gas grill as an oven. It heats up faster and hotter then the oven. Get out a heavy cast iron skillet.
  7. Heat the skillet for 3 minutes on high heat. Add a shimmer of canola or other oil and get that good and hot, too. Another minute or two.
  8. Slip in the chicken, back side down, into the skillet, and then place the skillet in the oven. (Or on the grill.)
  9. The chicken will take about 50 minutes to one hour. The only reliable test is a thermometer reading of 160.
  10. Remove the chicken from the oven/grill and put it on the stove, over high heat, and add thyme and 1/2 c chicken broth, then spoon the broth over the chicken. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes, then quarter and serve.
  11. I pair this chicken with rice spiked with green olives and toasted almonds and a roasted vegetable or lightly dressed salad.
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25 Reviews

kathy A. November 15, 2020
You do not indicate if chicken should be covered when putting in frig after marinating. I’ve read elsewhere uncovered helps dry for crispy skin; however reading uncovered is dangerous. Help!
aargersi March 6, 2012
I can NOT believe I didn't think to soak my chicken in buttermilk before this. Seriously. You are a genius. Next chicken WILL be this one! (well next next one because I have one in an spice salt and sugar brine right now)
MrsWheelbarrow March 7, 2012
Thank, aagersi!
ashleychasesdinner August 31, 2011
What a gorgeous looking photo Mrs.Wheelbarrow! Can't wait to make this.
Midge May 16, 2011
Sounds outstanding. Will be making this very soon!
DAVILCHICK May 16, 2011
DEEEEEEEEEEEEEELISH! Made this last night for company so we squeezed two chickens in a big cast iron pot and put that on the grill. Our grill didn't get to 450 with two chickens in the big pot so we left it on a little longer - no biggie. But seriously, yum. Thanks Mrs. W.
MrsWheelbarrow May 16, 2011
Thank you!!
Arathi March 15, 2011
MrsWheelbarrow, I just wanted to let you know I made this again a few days ago, and it was fabulous. I made it with two chickens, and it was a bit of a squeeze in the pan I used, but I still didn't have any problems with splatter. I served it with gingerroot's Roasted Radish and Potato Salad (which I thought went great with it) and my friends liked it so much they insisted I comment and let you know, even though I already have! Thanks again, I really love this recipe.
MrsWheelbarrow March 15, 2011
You made my day. I'm so glad you enjoyed the chicken, and thanks for pointing out the radish potato salad, as I somehow missed that recipe (two of my favorite foods!) It would make a perfect side. Cheers!
marcello February 7, 2011
cheese1227 February 8, 2011
That was not my experience at all. Love this recipe.
MrsWheelbarrow February 8, 2011
So sorry you had that experience with this recipe. I've made it many times and haven't had this problem.
lastnightsdinner February 8, 2011
Most high heat chicken roasting methods like this, Zuni, Keller, etc. will generate some splatters and smoke, but I think it's well worth it for the crisp skin and succulent meat you get in return!
thirschfeld February 8, 2011
I roast chickens at high heat all the time and sure a little grease will spatter but never have I had them smoke up the kitchen unless I accidentally spilled grease onto the bottom of the oven. Of course then it was my fault not the chickens.
cheese1227 October 6, 2010
Made one for dinner and one for leftovers. Very tasty!
MrsWheelbarrow October 7, 2010
Yay! I woke up this morning thinking it was time to make one of these birds again. Want to share your leftovers? Ha!
cheese1227 October 13, 2010
I froze the carcasses so that when I had time I could make stock. What a lovely color today's stock is going to be because of the tumeric and paprika! I'll have to amke a soup that doesn't mask that loveliness.
MrsWheelbarrow October 13, 2010
I imagine that stock is lovely - what about as the liquid w/farro? or other grain?
Arathi March 1, 2010
I made this this past weekend and really, really loved it. Leftovers were fantastic too. I usually don't like roast chicken leftovers for some reason, but these were great. Thanks for the recipe!
MrsWheelbarrow March 1, 2010
I'm so thrilled you tried it! I'll admit I love this recipe almost as much for the leftovers.
lastnightsdinner February 27, 2010
We usually rely on the Keller method for our basic roast chickens. Your marinade and rub sound fabulous!
MrsWheelbarrow February 25, 2010
Thank you all for your nice comments! I just finished up the leftovers - wonderfully moist and spicy.
TheWimpyVegetarian February 25, 2010
What a great way to roast a chicken. I'm trying this one next time I do a roaster. Thanks for posting.
Aliwaks February 25, 2010
yeah, I am soo making this.
Savorykitchen February 25, 2010
Holy Moses! I very much want to eat that chicken, like right now.