Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro SauceChicken. It is the workhorse of cooking. It is versatile, relatively cheap, and can be found in every cuisine around the world. The problem is that eating chicken day-in and day-out can be boring. That’s why when you find a chicken recipe that blows your socks off you gotta share.

I get a lot of cooking emails in my inbox. I look at most of them—but not all. Honestly, it depends on what’s in the subject line. If I’m curious, I open it. However, if there is one email I always open, it is anything I receive from NY Times Cooking. Nine times out of ten I will find something that I want to try.

About a week ago this gem was one of the What to Cook This Week recipes. It was touted as the only chicken recipe you will ever want to make—so of course, I was curious.

I made the marinade on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning before work I put whole chicken legs in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. When I came home, I took it out to warm up a bit, threw it in the oven and proceeded to blow my family’s taste buds.

Every single one of them said it was the best chicken I have ever made.

Since then, I have been telling everyone I know and now I am passing it along to y’all. Trust me you will thank me. One word of advice, you have to make the sauce. The chicken is good on its own but with the sauce, it’s out of this world.

I served this with some black beans and rice and some fried plantains but it would be just as good alongside a salad.

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce
Adapted from NY Times Cooking

For the Marinade
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili sambal
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground ancho powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Chicken
4 whole chicken legs, skin on
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the Sauce
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon chili sambal
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Lime wedges, for garnish

Make the Marinade
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, chili sambal, lime juice, ancho powder, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.

Marinate the Chicken
Add chicken legs, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Cook the Chicken
Heat the oven to 450º F. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.

Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes. Check temp with thermometer. It should be 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

Make the Sauce
While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, chili sambal, 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.

Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.

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