Peruvian Chicken with fresh green sauce is a must-make for your next cookout. Get the easy recipe for chicken thighs infused with a flavorful marinade then grilled or smoked to perfection. Served with a simple homemade sauce made with fresh herbs, garlic, and seasoning. It’s the best chicken dish to make for dinner. Pollo a la Brasa with Aji Verde is sure to be favorite!
Let’s face it. Chicken is not the most exciting meal. Too often, it is bland, or even worse, overcooked, stringy, and dry. But don’t give up on chicken too quickly. It can be delicious if done right, and this Peruvian chicken recipe does it perfectly! Get ready for an incredibly scrumptious chicken dinner like you none you have had before. No smoker? No worries. There are instructions for baking the chicken in the oven as well. So, say goodbye to bland chicken dinners and give this Smoked Peruvian Chicken recipe a try.
The Flavors of Peru
Pressed against South America’s western shores, Peru may be famous for its cultural sites like Manchu Picchu, but it is relatively unknown when it comes to its cooking style. This is a shame because Peruvian cooking offers some of the boldest and most unique flavors in the region. The dish below, known in Peru as Pollo a la Brassa, or ‘grilled chicken,’ showcases some of the Peruvian cuisine’s simple sophistication.
Two secrets allow for the incorporation of so much taste into every bite of Pollo a la Brassa. The first is the marinate, and the second is the cooking method.
The smoked chicken marinade contains a wide range of ingredients that run the gamut from salty to sour, with just a bit of heat. When combined with chicken and allowed to marinate overnight, the mild chicken develops an extraordinary piquant flavor profile that gives the cooked chicken an almost addicting taste. Most of the marinate’s ingredients are readily available in your local grocery store, except for one, pasilla chile powder. Dried pasilla chiles are not hot, but they rather have a distinct smokiness and can remind people of dried fruits like raisins and prunes. If, after a reasonable search, you are unable to find pasilla chile powder, you can try substituting the more common ancho chile powder.
Proper Pollo a la Brassa cooks low and slow to allow the smoke to penetrate the chicken. Even if you cook in your oven, you need to give the chicken enough time to crisp up without drying out. The marinate helps but remember to keep an eye on your temperature.
The Famous Aji Verde Sauce
A plate of Pollo a la Brassa is not complete without a healthy splash of Aji Verde sauce. Commonly called green sauce in the US, Aji Verde sauce is the perfect accompaniment to just about anything on a plate that needs a bit of a zip. The Peruvian green sauce recipe below tames the heat a with honey and feta cheese.
Tips For Cooking and Serving Smoked Peruvian Chicken
- Try cooking a whole chicken. The thighs’ natural fattiness helps protect against overcooking, so need to pay more attention when cooking an entire bird.
- It is a popular finger food. Pollo a la Brassa is one of Peru’s most loved dishes, but it is not fancy. Forget the knife and fork and enjoy it like American fried chicken.
- Smoked Peruvian Chicken goes great with a side order of french fries. With over 4,000 native potatoes grown in Peru, it is no wonder the people love french fries. But don’t bring out the ketchup. Stick to the Aji Verde sauce instead.
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More about the dish. Note it is also called Pollo a la Brasa with Aji Verde
Here’s what you need:
- Soy sauce
- Lime juice
- Pasilla chile powder
- Dijon mustard
- Ground cumin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fine sea salt
- Chicken thighs
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh jalapeño peppers
- Feta cheese
- Fresh oregano or basil
- Lime wedges, for garnish
How to Make Peruvian Chicken
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sriracha, lime juice, aji panca paste, mustard, cumin, pepper, and salt.
Add chicken thighs, turning to coat them all over with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. These are best when allowed to marinate overnight.
Heat the smoker or grill to 350 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade shake off excess marinade.
Smoke or grill chicken thighs until the skin is golden and chicken is cooked through about 35 to 45 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.
Place cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, sriracha, honey, and cumin in a blender and blend until smooth.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified.
Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.
Serve Peruvian chicken with fresh green sauce and garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
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Cooking with Chicken
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Smoked Peruvian Chicken Thighs
- 1/4 cup finely minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon pasilla chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijion mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds chicken thighs
- vegetable oil as needed
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1/3 cup jalpenos seeded and diced
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijion mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Marinade Preparation
- In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sriracha, lime juice, pasilla chili powder, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.
- Add chicken thighs, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, these are best made the night before, and allowed to marinade all night
Smoker Instructions (the same cooking times work for a gas grill or an oven)
- Heat the smoker or grill to 350 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade shake off excess marinade.
- Smoke/grill chicken until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through,25 to 35 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking, make the sauce.
Green Sauce Instructions
- In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, sriracha, honey, and cumin until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.
Recipe Tips for the Cook
- Serving size is 2 chicken thighs