Pollo a la Brasa - Peruvian Roasted Chicken

 

The third Sunday in July is "Pollo a la Brasa Day" in Peru (Día del Pollo a la Brasa).   Like pisco and ceviche, pollo a la brass is a very important component of Peru's culinary heritage, though it is a relatively modern dish.  (Peru also celebrates Pisco Sour Day in February and National Ceviche Day on June 28). 

Pollo a la brasa is a delectable roasted chicken flavored with uniquely Peruvian herbs and spices. it has really started to catch on in the United States, so much so that...MORE many areas have several competing restaurants. Peruvian roasted chicken is popular for a reason - the unique combination of spices gives the meat exceptional flavor. The dish has an interesting history:  it was made famous by a couple of Swiss expats in the 1950's at their  restaurant La Granja Azul (which is still a popular Lima restaurant). They designed and patented the mechanical spit that roasts multiple chickens simultaneously (el rotombo).

Peruvian roasted chicken always comes with delicious hot pepper sauces. The red sauce typically has quite a kick, but the green sauce and the creamy yellow aji sauce tend to be milder and sweet. The green sauce is typically prepared with queso fresco or mayonnaise and the Andean herb called huacatay, or Peruvian black mint. The creamy yellow sauce is made with aji amarillo chile peppers.

Pollo a la brasa always comes with sides - usually thick cut french fries, fried yuca, corn on the cob, and onion salad/relish. Some places offer tortillas and beans and rice, a more Central American touch. For the complete Peruvian experience, wash everything down with an Inca Cola. If your takeout place has desserts, be sure to try them too! Alfajores or tres leches are some of the most popular.

 

 

  • 01 of 10
    Pollo a la Brasa. Marian Blazes

    It's easy to roast chicken at home with the same Peruvian flavors as the takeout rotisserie version. This is an excellent dish for company and doesn't require much work.

  • 02 of 10
    Pollo a la Brasa Chicken Breasts. Marian Blazes

     For when you don't feel like roasting a whole chicken...

  • 03 of 10
    Fried Yuca - Yuca Frita. Marian Blazes

    Yuca fries, always cut into thick wedges, are crispy on the outside and soft but densely textured on the inside. 

  • 04 of 10
    Crema de Aji. Marian Blazes

     This versatile, spicy yellow sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken, vegetables, french fries, and fried yuca.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Peruvian Huacatay Salsa - Aji de Huacatay. Marian Blazes

    The secret ingredient that that special green sauce is the Andean herb known as huacatay ("wah-ka-tay"), or Peruvian black mint.  Jarred huacatay paste is often available at Latin markets.

  • 06 of 10
    Salsa Criolla. Marian Blazes

     Quick and easy to prepare, brightly seasoned with lime juice and salt,  salsa criolla is the perfect accompaniment to many dishes.

  • 07 of 10

    Tres Leches Cake

    Tres Leches Cake. Marian Blazes

    No one can resist this moist cake, drenched in cream, topped with billowy meringue and sprinkled with cinnamon?

  • 08 of 10
    Alfajores. Marian Blazes

     Latin America's most famous cookie..

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes "A La Brasa" - Pollo y Papas en Olla de Coccion Lenta. Marian Blazes

    This shredded chicken is seasoned with the classic pollo a la brasa herbs and spices and not be simpler to make in the slow cooker. The resulting shredded chicken and tender yellow potatoes make an excellent filling for empanadastequeños, or sandwiches.

  • 10 of 10
    Roast Turkey "A La Brasa" - Pavo Horneado. Marian Blazes

    Season a roasted turkey with the same delicious spices. A layer of yellow potatoes and onions underneath soak up all the flavorful juices.