Sunday Gravy with yeah right: Peruvian Chicken. Let’s Get Primal!



yeah right is a lifelong Vikings fan. He is into self denial and still harbors hope. Loves to cook, read and drink. But he doesn’t plate.

When I first started working at my current job, back in 2001, I had a team of 14 employees. This group was a really close group, family practically. Every day, EVERY DAY, they would sit down to lunch together just like a family and they would laugh, kid around and share stories of their home lives. It was pretty fucking cool how well we all got along. I didn’t participate with the food part of the lunch since they ate around noon and I don’t come to work until 11:00 AM (that would be like breakfast time for me) but I did hang around the periphery just to share in the stories and communion. They sat around this big ass table and it was actually pretty amazing. I’m still close with many of them to this day.

One thing though, these folks ate really well for lunch. Every fucking day they would have Mexican food or these huge Italian fucking sandwiches or pizza or barbecue. I’m talking a full calorie Sunday dinner type meal, EVERY FUCKING DAY! I would have died of cholesterol poisoning if I tried to do that. Christ almighty, it’s amazing they didn’t all have heart attacks! I’ve mentioned in the past but my weekday diet is pretty goddamn spartan. I have a banana and yogurt or a protein shake for breakfast, fruit for lunch and another piece of fruit, another yogurt and some baked chicken breast for dinner in one form or another. EVERY FUCKING DAY! Part of the reason for this is it allows me to indulge a bit on Saturday and cook a full dinner on Sunday. A family tradition that I refuse to give up. Another reason is in January of 2001 I weighed in at 339 pounds – I am over 100 pounds less than that now – and I promised myself I would never allow that to happen again.

One of the restaurants they visited on a bi-weekly basis was this place…


That’s El Pollo Inka and it’s a mini chain here in L.A. that specializes in Peruvian food. This was my first exposure to Peruvian food. The family, my employees, would always tell me “yeah right, you really have to try this place!” Each one of their meals came with a cup of chicken and rice soup which I later found out was called “aguadito” soup. It’s chicken and rice and onion and potatoes in a really tasty broth. To appease my employees I told them one day “Let me try some soup, I guess I can eat that.”



That did it. The following Saturday I visited the restaurant for the first of many times. A big crowd favorite is called Lomo Saltado.


This is a beef dish with strips of beef, onion, tomatoes and french fries. You will notice in the above photo the ubiquitous “green sauce” that is served with each meal. There is a red sauce too. The green sauce is made with cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and a little lime juice and it just sets the whole plate off properly. It is this particular restaurant that is the inspiration for today’s menu, that and BallsofSteel’s Copa America Peru preview. There will be no harming of Guinea pigs in this recipe but we are gonna get seriously primal with a chicken.


The three main takeaways from today’s post will be the Peruvian chicken itself, the green sauce and I am going to teach you another very cool kitchen technique that you will remember and will thank me profusely for for many years to come.

No joke here folks, this is a little time consuming and a bit of an advanced meal but it is insanely delicious and well worth the effort. Since there will be chopping and cutting and blending and cooking and shit for this we are going to do step one a day ahead of time.

Peruvian Green Sauce:

1 cup (packed) of fresh cilantro leaves. You can allow the little stems but remove the bigger of the stems. Why yes, my cilantro came from my herb garden but I had to buy some extra because a packed cup of cilantro is a lot of goddamn cilantro.

2 large jalapenos with seeds, stem and ribs removed – chopped.

4 cloves of garlic minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Juice from one fresh lime

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of mayonnaise or plain yogurt. You can use some of each but I went whole mayo here.

Place everything but the mayo into a blender and pulse-blend until everything’s combined. This may take a bit and may require a tiny bit more oil.

cilantro in blender

When blended, add in the mayo and blend until smooth.

that is some serious green shit.
that is some serious green shit.

The sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and refrigerated and you will want to do this in advance so you don’t give yourself a fucking stroke trying to do everything in one day. This sauce is a great all around condiment that you may want to use for other applications but it just works perfectly with the next recipe.

Roasted Peruvian Chicken:

5 cloves of garlic minced fine.

1 tablespoon of smoked Spanish paprika – you can use whatever paprika you have but this is a great application for the smoked Spanish style.

1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano crushed.

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons of kosher salt, divided.

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 lemons

1 whole chicken between 3-5 pounds.

Combine the garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. oil and the zest from one of the 2 lemons. Make a paste. Now squeeze in the juice of one of the lemons and combine together. Set aside for a moment.

I’ll get back to the final preparation of the meal but first we are gonna fuck up that whole chicken’s day. Just to clarify this will be a whole chicken that you buy at the store that’s already been killed, butchered and feathered and all of that shit. I ain’t talking about bringing a live fucking chicken into the kitchen.

Remove the chicken from the package, also remove the giblet package (if there is one) and the neck bone from the cavity of the bird (if there is a neck bone) rinse the chicken and pat dry.

Now, have you gone to a barbecue or a restaurant and seen the quartered or half or whole chickens that are resting flat on a grill surface looking all tasty and shit? Ever wondered how the cooks get that chicken cut in half and how they lie so flat? That’s what we are going to learn today. Some of you probably know how to do this already but if you don’t know then you will love this.

This method of chicken butchering is called…


Goddamn right.

This is where you are allowed to use your best Ving Rhames voice when you look at the chicken and say “You hear me talking you poultry looking motherfucker? I’m gonna spatchcock your ass!” You are allowed to talk to the food as you prepare it. I give you permission. Besides “spatchcock” is just too damn cool of a word to not say out loud as often as possible.

To begin place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. You will need your best set of kitchen shears and a big ass butcher knife. Using your kitchen shears cut along both sides of the backbone.

removing chicken bone

Remove the backbone and save for stock or just throw in the goddamn trash. Now press the chicken flat, we are still working breast side down here. Take your butcher knife and cut carefully along the breast bone until chicken lies flat like this.


You can cut your chicken in halves at this point simply by slicing through the breastbone. You can quarter too if desired but I’m cooking this chicken whole as seen in the above picture. I promise you will want to try grilling this whole thing or the 2 chicken halves over a grill while basting until done. That will make a very cool presentation.

Oh yes, you will do so at some point. But as Vin Scully always says “Now back to this one.”

Take the 2nd lemon from earlier, slice in half and squeeze the juice all over the chicken – both sides. Rub the lemon rinds on the chicken as well. “Lemon the fuck out of that chicken.” Then sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of salt.

Place your spatchcocked {snicker} chicken breast side up into a cast iron skillet or a baking dish. You can try grilling if you would like but my grill surface is too close to the coals to cook the full bird properly so we will be roasting the chicken today. Besides the recipe is called “Roasted Peruvian Chicken” not grilled Peruvian chicken.

Thought I told you to pay attention.

Get that spice mixture that you set aside. Loosen the skin around the breast and the thighs and take about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture and massage well under the loosened skin and all over the rest of the bird. You will want to save some of the seasoning mix for basting later.

chicken ready for oven

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating make a side dish of roasted garlic rosemary potatoes. I’ve made this one a few times in the past but for a refresher, it’s one peeled russet potato per person, cut the potato into wedges and drizzle with some olive oil. Mince a few cloves of garlic and toss with the potatoes. Sprinkle some kosher salt over the potatoes and finally cover with some sprigs of fresh rosemary (from the herb garden naturally) you are going to place all of these on a baking sheet.

unroasted potatoes

Here they are prior to roasting. These cook for the same amount of time as the chicken will, about 1 hour total, so it’s a perfect side accompaniment, not to mention that Peruvians do use a fair share of potatoes.

Get the chicken on the middle rack of the preheated oven and the potatoes can go on the upper or lower oven rack. After 20 minutes baste the chicken with some of the remaining seasoning mix and some of the pan juices. Twenty minutes later baste again and finally baste a third time as you remove the chicken from the oven an hour after beginning.

Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes and you are about ready to rock. In the banner image you will see the finished chicken and the roasted potatoes.

Oh look! Here it is again!

roasted chicken and potatoes

What I did for this meal was cut myself a quarter of the chicken, leg, thigh and a wing please. Get some of the potatoes on the plate and I had a little spinach salad on the side. Put some of the green sauce over the chicken and keep a little around to dip your potatoes in to. I also grabbed some garlic naan from the store and warmed up to use as a delivery vessel to your awaiting pie hole.

Here is the dinner in it’s soon to be devoured state.

full meal

This! This, this shit is really damn good. Really damn good. The chicken has a smoky, herbed lemony thing going on, the green sauce is bright with the cilantro and has a garlic bite as well as some jalapeno heat. This sauce is killer. The potatoes go so well as a side here. Rip off a slab of chicken with the sauce and put onto the naan (no of course naan isn’t Peruvian – or you could use pita bread too) and just go to town.

I realize I go on and on about how delicious everything is each and every week on Sunday Gravy but taken in it’s entirety this made an amazing and deeply satisfying meal. Not to mention that it’s reasonably healthy in preparation and ingredients. The leftovers kicked some righteous ass as well. It’s a little work but absolutely worth every bit of the effort.

I realize you can’t eat something like this every day, unlike my employees did. However, if you are diligent during the week you can afford to get a little crazy on the weekend.

That is the very essence of Sunday Gravy!

I fucking love you people.



yeah right is a lifelong Vikings fan. He is into self denial and still harbors hope. Loves to cook, read and drink. But he doesn't plate.
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Cooking a chicken in a similar manner I used a kitchen injector to put heavily spiced olive in the meatier parts. It worked out great, but don’t use as much cayenne as I did.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Keep fuckin’ that chicken.



Made it, loved it. I made the mistake of getting the potatoes started too far ahead of the chicken, but otherwise this was pretty easy to put together.


When are the Portland DFOers going to meet up?

Should we seriously start planning for end of July?


If I ever learned how to plan and budget for cooking more than a day in advance, I bet I could actually make some of these recipes even while being the stingy money-paranoid ass I am.


If you have a decent pair of poultry shears, breaking down a chicken is pretty quick and easy once you’ve done it a couple times. That little effort will save you a lot because buying whole chickens is one of the best values you’ll find for meat, especially if you save the scraps for stock.


Or if you get the chicken on sale like I did, also quite economical. I ended up spending more on all the other ingredients. Also – and this tip goes for everybody – check the “ethnic foods” aisle for spices before you go to the main spice section. You can find some really cheap ones that are exactly the same.


A lot of times you can find the big restaurant-size seasonings in the ethnic aisle too. I make up big batches of my rubs so it saves me quite a bit of money and from having to hassle with the little containers.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Also economical; make a big batch of almost anything and put it in serving size freezer containers.

Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass

Damn that looks great. I think I’ll stop by the carniceria and buy a big ol’ roasting hen sometime this week!


Oh baby, that looks good. There’s a good chance I’ll be making this next Friday or Saturday.


This is awesome. I cannot wait to take you to that place in the valley. They have a yellow sauce that you will love.


Yellow sauce? You may want to see a doctor because I think it’s supposed to be a shade of white! 😉

/pours one out for the KSK Gay Mafia

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Well, fuck! I need to read the replies before I go for something like that. I owe you an internet dollar for royalties.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

“What am I going to do with those chicken breasts I bought on Thursday,” Rikki said to himself, sipping some weak tea to help his head recover after a night spent hanging out with Slash, Bubbles, and the mayor…

King Hippo

Fuck and YES!!!!

A delightful morning read. Looks remarkable.

monty this seems strange to me

that is some serious green shit.

– WCS changing a diaper

King Hippo

There is no better microcosm in the world for parenting than when you first introduce baby food to the formula/breast milk/simple cereal mix. For the better, it’s fun! Especially for dad, getting to offer new foods that don’t require specific female biology. They also nap longer. There also soon comes the beautiful nirvana of the consolidated mega-nap (when they go from 2 naps down to 1, it lasts a good 3+ hours and is usually during sports teevee).

BUT HOLY SHIT the poop diapers get nuclear waste level worse. And that is life. Some shit gets better, some gets worse, and it largely balances out until they move out and hopefully don’t get arrested or develop a crack habit.