Saturday, August 5, 2017

Peruvian Grilled Chicken Skewers

This classic Peruvian recipe (Pollo a la brasa) includes flavors common to Asia, due to large migrations to Peru from the region and now account for nearly 5% of the population. Peru is said to have one of the world's most important cuisines because it is an exemplar of fusion cuisine, due to its long multicultural history.

Julian's Peruvian Grilled Chicken Skewers
Pollo a la Brasa (a rotisserie or roaster chicken) is one of the most consumed foods in Peru. The origins of the recipe for this dish date back to Lima in the 1950s, when two Peruvian residents invented and registered the patent  for the rotisserie grill machine used to cook the chicken. Traditionally, the dish is served with French fried potatoes, salad and various sauces (Peruvian mayonnaise, ketchup, olive sauce, chimichurri and aji (chili) sauces of all kinds).

Off the skewer and onto the wild rice.
The strongly flavored soy-based marinade used for this dish is lightened with lime juice and seasoned with a few spicy ingredients to give it a little kick. It's certainly not 'hot' but you'll know they are there, which is why I like to serve it on a bed of white or wild rice, as shown here. These spices are offset with brown sugar, which helps it to brown nicely on the grill.

In Peru you often find served as a half chicken per person, although their chickens run smaller than their U.S. counterparts. I've taken the standard recipe and used only dark chicken thigh meat and placed them on skewers, which I think you will enjoy, Dark boneless, skinless thigh meat grills nicely and doesn't dry out easily.

Ingredients

Marinade and Basting sauce:
4-5  large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup soy or teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger

For the chicken:
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Vegetable oil for grill

Instructions

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup for basting in a airtight container and refrigerate. Cut the chicken into 1-inch or so cubes. Add the cut chicken to a plastic zippered storage bag and add the remaining marinade. Turn the bag to evenly coat chicken with marinade. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or even a bit longer.

Heat gas grill to medium high or start a medium hot charcoal grill. Thread chicken onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.)

Clean grill surface and coat with an oil-dipped paper towel using tongs. Place skewers on grill and cook, turning one-quarter turn every 3-4 minutes until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Brush each cooked side with the reserved basting sauce. Chicken should be charred in spots.

Remove the chicken skewers from the grill, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on a bed of white or wild rice.

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