This Is the Last Roast Chicken Recipe You’ll Ever Need

A Peruvian take on a classic from Victoriano Lopez at Jaranita

May 23, 2023 6:30 am
spread of food on a tray
Chef Victoriano Lopez’s pollo alla brasa is rich with flavor and full of texture.

Every Tuesday, diners flock en masse to the Marina District’s Jaranita for “Pollo Tuesday,” where they dig into the succulent roast chicken the Peruvian-inspired spot is known for. But for those who’d rather enjoy their pollo at home, executive chef Victoriano Lopez is sharing the restaurant’s beloved recipe for home cooks.

Lopez’s Pollo Alla Brasa begins with top-quality chicken: Only free-range, pasture-raised will do. Studies have shown that pasture-fed chicken, which gives into its natural instinct to forage for grass, seeds and insects, contains significantly higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And the gustatory experience is unparalleled, with deeper flavor and a slightly firmer texture.

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A chicken this good could easily stand on its own, but at Jaranita, sourcing is just the beginning. The birds get pampered with a salt rub, resting for three hours to improve their flavor and tenderize the meat. Next up is a flavorful marinade characteristic of Peru: a marriage of sweet honey, cola and cloves, herbaceous oregano and rosemary, umami-rich soy and black bean paste, and a host of other seasonings ranging from mustard to ginger to beer. 

After 12 hours getting friendly with all of these phenomenal flavors, the chicken is ready to cook — and luckily, all of this patient waiting is rewarded with a last step that couldn’t be simpler: a no-nonsense hour in the oven, no manhandling required.

“The chicken doesn’t need to be flipped or turned while it’s roasting,” Lopez explains. “Our method of marinating for a longer period of time makes the meat juicy and succulent.”

The finished chicken is just as richly flavored as you’d expect, served alongside beans, buttery rice with corn or even sweet potatoes. At Jaranita, Lopez opts for the traditional fries and salad — the perfect pair for what may be the perfect roast chicken.

Alla Brasa

Servings: 4

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) honey
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 ginger root, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon black bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 can light beer
  • ½ can cola
    1. The day before, generously rub the chicken in salt. Let rest for 3 hours.

    2. Combine the marinade ingredients and set aside.

    3. After the chicken has sat in the salt for three hours, cover with the marinade and chill at least 12 hours.

    4. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Roast the chicken for 45 to 60 minutes, or until you reach an internal temperature of 165º F. Let rest before carving and serving with fries or the side of your choice.


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