Peru Is So Hot Right Now {peruvian chicken, beans and rice}

Contrary to popular belief (mine), there is more to Peru than colorful ponchos and ancient civilizations. Evidently, Peru has recently become the next big thing in food. Ferran Adrià, king of all things cooking, eating and molecules, is even making some sort of film about the food scene there and my friends, it’s more than just potatoes (I hope, otherwise, this will be one boring documentary).

Even washed-up, America’s Test Kitchen hippie*, Christopher Kimball is dipping his toe into the world of adapted Peruvian cuisine. I watched a recent episode featuring vertically roasted chicken and black beans and rice and also decided to get my proverbial food-feet wet. And that’s what I’m bringing you today: another interesting thing to do with chicken, Peruvian style.

*Not a negative thing.

There’s a lot happening in this recipe. It’s really four recipes in one. The first two are the rub for your blank chicken canvas and then the cooking of the chicken. The third is for the black beans and rice and the final recipe is for a mayonnaise-y sauce to dump all over everything.

From start to finish (i.e. rub to marinating to cooking to eating), you’ll need a good 24 hours in order to accomplish chicken-rub-marination and bean-soakery. So, if you want to eat this tonight, you need to hop in your DeLorean and crank that bitch up to 88 miles per hour. Jumping gigawatts! Moving forward…

Ay, there’s the rub:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Habanero pepper (approximately 1 teaspoon, minced)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3.5 – 4 lb. chicken to put all this on/in

Blend all of the ingredients together until they make a wet paste.

Take half the paste and rub it under the breast and thigh skin of the chicken. It’s not hard to separate it from the flesh, just be ginger when you’re going in. Rub the other half of the paste on the outside and then pop the whole thing in a large Ziploc bag and toss in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When it’s time to cook your chicken, preheat your oven to 325°F. Place the bird on a vertical roaster (those used for such culinary innovations as beer-can chicken*) on a sheet pan. Bake standing up (the chicken, not you) for 45 – 55 minutes or until breast meat registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer. Crank the heat up to 500°F and cook for another 20 minutes, rotating once. A trick that could help here is to put some water in the bottom of the sheet pan so if the fat drips it doesn’t burn on the pan and smoke up your house.

*Not a negative thing.

Now for the black beans and rice. Which also require some prep and overnight attention.

For the soaking:

  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt

For the bean-cooking:

  • Soaked beans
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • head of garlic, minus 5 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves

For the final dish:

  • 6 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Are y’all still awake? This is definitely reminiscent of an America’s Test Kitchen recipe because it’s really exact and ridiculous. But it did turn out good. If you want, you can watch it here.

First things first. Soak your beans overnight in 2 quarts of water and the salt. Drain.

Place the soaked beans, 1/2 the bell pepper, 1/2 the onion, salt, bay leaves, and garlic bulb in 2 cups each of water and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium high and reduce to low. Cover and simmer until just tender. About 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, time to prep a couple aromatics for the final product. Roughly chop the remaining 1/2 onion and 1 1/2 bell pepper and process in your Cuisinart until you get about 1/4″ pieces.

Once your beans have tenderized, drain them saving 2 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Now it’s time to get this business wrapped up. Brown your bacon in a large dutch oven and then add the food-processed veggies along with a tablespoon of olive oil, oregano and cumin.

After about 15 minutes, once veggies begin to brown and liquid has cooked out, add the remaining 5 cloves of garlic (minced), rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cooking liquid that you reserved and red wine vinegar.

If you watch the actual episode, you’ll learn a good trick which is to bake the rice and beans at 350°F for about 30 minutes so you don’t have to worry about things burning. I thought this was a great idea but I had a chicken in the oven at 500°F and don’t have the luxury of two (or forty-two) ovens. I just covered and turned the heat down to low and cooked until the liquid was absorbed. Since I used brown rice, this took closer to an hour.

The last thing to do, if you want, is make the sauce. I don’t even want to type it, so I don’t blame you for not wanting to make it. I live in a household that likes abundant sauces and so we made sure to include this pièce de résistance.

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in your food processor.

Process for 10 seconds or so and then drizzle in the oil through the top while the thing is still going to emulsify everything.

It’s time to eat!

Carve your peruvian chicken and serve it with or without sauce depending on your level of aversion to mayonnaise-like sauces. Mine is strong. This was husband’s final product smothered in sauce*.

*Not a negative thing.