Peruvian Roast Chicken

July 28: Independence Day of Peru

Happy Independence Day to the people of Peru! We work with a Peruvian family foundation based in the Midwest to raise funds and supplies (school and medical) to provide food and basic necessities and services to impoverished villages across the South American nation. Someday we hope to go to Peru and help with their missions as well as visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

We get a literal taste of Peruvian cuisine and culture when we visit and stay at our friends’ Guillermo and Tina’s home. We help them and their family prepare for their charity fundraiser by assembling raffle prize packages, picking up orders, designing ads, decorating the venue, cleaning up, etc.

While volunteers are working hard to prepare for the event, Guillermo and his sister-in-law Odilia make sure we are nourished. They set out a buffet on their kitchen island with salads, fresh fruits, rice, spicy sauces, snacks, sweets and roast chicken. The main meat is tender, succulent, flavorful and filling—adding to the festive mood of family and friendship. Tina’s brother, Pastor Juan, would give thanks to God that we are blessed with a bounty in America that others in their country do not have, but God sends those with grateful hearts to help communities in need. Simple acts of kindness make the world a better place—and we need more compassion and understanding especially nowadays!

We roast a chicken Peruvian style once in a while at home. We save some of the meat to make other dishes (soups, sandwiches or salads) so nothing is ever wasted. The seasoning paste and green sauce (salsa verde) may be made ahead so preparation is faster. Below is a recipe post for Peru’s Independence Day.


From by Guillermo L.


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt (plus a few more sprinkles for the chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (plus a few more sprinkles for the chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 limes (1 zested, 2 cut in half)
  • 4 pound whole chicken, giblets removed


In a bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin.

Stir in the paprika and oregano. Add the zest of one lime then cut this lime in half. Squeeze the juice in the bowl. Cut another lime and squeeze the juice in the bowl. Mix until it has a paste-like consistency. Set aside.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Use kitchen shears to cut out the backbone of the chicken. Turn it around on press down to flatten (spatchcock). Rub some lime on the inside and outside of the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the chicken breast-side down. Use a knife to loosen the skin but be careful not to tear it.

Spread half the marinade mixture underneath the chicken skin. Place on a foil lined roasting pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for half an hour. Remove from the oven and smear the remainder of the marinade on the skin.

Bake for another 15 minutes. Periodically baste the chicken with pan juices. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces. Serve with a side of green sauce (salsa verde).

Bonus Recipe: Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)


  • Handful of cilantro (about a cup)
  • 1-2 small jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise


In a blender container, place the cilantro, sliced peppers, garlic clove, olive oil and lime juice.

Add the mayonnaise. Blend well, shaking the container until everything is mixed and pureed. Pour into a bowl and serve on the side with the Peruvian roast chicken.


  • Muchas gracias to Guillermo y familia for this recipe, their hospitality and world vision to help the less fortunate in both the Midwest American city in which they live now and in their home country.
  • Peruse our blog for more Peruvian recipe posts.

Engagement Chicken

March 20: National Proposal Day

Is the way to a prince’s heart through his stomach? Many have speculated that American actress Meghan Markle’s roast chicken dinner impressed Prince Harry of Wales so much that he proposed to her!

Other women have claimed that when they cooked a heartwarming lemony-herbed roast chicken for their boyfriends, they finally proposed, too. The “magical” recipe, which originated from Glamour magazine in the early 2000s, earned a reputation for its power it has over guys to “pop the question” and thus has been dubbed “engagement chicken”!

Believe the sexist tale or not, engagement chicken is still a tasty comfort food that is relatively simple to make for loved ones. Whether for a prince, significant other, family or friends, roast chicken is perfect to cook any day but especially on National Proposal Day.

Recipe I

This is the version we adapted by Chef Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, which Meghan Markle alluded to in her BBC interview, stating that she and Prince Harry cooked it together for dinner the night he proposed to her.


  • 1 (5-6 pound) whole roasting chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons (one cut in half, another cut in wedges)
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour


Remove the giblets from the chicken and rinse inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Generously salt and pepper inside of the chicken. Stuff it with half a bunch of thyme. Place two halves of a lemon and garlic inside of the chicken.

Put on a roasting pan. Rub the skin of the chicken with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Tie the chicken legs with cooking twine. Secure the wing tips to the chicken with toothpicks. Place in a large roasting pan. Put onion and lemon wedges around it.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 1½ hours until juices run clear. Baste occasionally. Remove from the oven and cover with foil while making the gravy.

Remove twine and toothpicks. Discard the garlic, thyme stems, fat and lemon halves and wedges (and seeds) from the roasting pan, reserving the onions and two tablespoons of juices. Place the onions and juices into a saucepan with the chicken stock. Boil on high heat for about five minutes until reduced. Then stir in the flour and boil for a few more minutes until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain the gravy into a boat. Serve hot with carved chicken pieces.

Recipe II

This is the version we adapted that originated from Glamour magazine and became an urban legend.


  • 1 (4-5pound) whole roasting chicken
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
  • 2-3 additional lemons
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sprigs of fresh herbs to garnish (rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the giblets from the chicken and rinse inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the lemon juice inside and outside. Season the inside with half the salt and pepper. Prick the lemons with the tines of a fork and insert inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs with cooking twine.

Secure the wing tips to the chicken with toothpicks. Season the outside with the remaining salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan lined with foil breast side down. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the chicken over breast side up and insert a meat thermometer in the thigh. Bake for another 1½ hours or more in 15-minute increments and until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and baste with the pan juices. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and transfer to a platter. Garnish with herbs. Serve hot with sides of roast vegetables.


  • The pan drippings from the engagement chicken used to baste and flavor this tender and tasty dish is called the “marry me juice”, according to Glamour magazine.
  • We garnish the engagement chicken with sprigs of herbs, roast vegetables (like carrots and potatoes) and/or extra lemon wedges. It makes for a pretty presentation especially for special occasions.
  • We like to serve engagement chicken to the couples we are sponsoring at our church through a marriage preparation ministry program. The dish is well liked by many, even by those who are picky eaters. Our couples enjoy hearing about the recipe’s reputation as well, and is a fun icebreaker and conversation starter for our meetings.


Moroccan Roast Chicken 

with Saffron and Rose Water

Morrocan Chicken

National Chicken Month

At one of Islander’s culinary club monthly meetings, members were challenged to bring a dish made with edible flowers or floral essence. Some of the potluck items included lavender scones, lavender lemon bars, blueberry pie with rose petals and a salad with sunflower seeds. In addition to bringing Maui lavender-mint iced tea, Islander shared a Moroccan chicken dish made with saffron and rose water. Other ingredients in this recipe include honey, cinnamon, hazelnuts, lemon and ginger, making the medley of flavors an exotic yet delicious combination. No wonder it was the members’ favorite flower-themed food! Make Moroccan roast chicken and savor the floral flavors during National Chicken Month.


(Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 large chicken, cut up into thighs, breasts, etc. (we used 12 chicken legs)
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (we used freshly grated ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, unskinned and toasted
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (not extract or essence)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional garnish)


In a large bowl, combine the saffron, chopped onion, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.

Moroccan Chicken

Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Arrange them in a large baking dish. Cover. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator, uncover and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Moroccan Chicken

Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts by stirring them in a skillet over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn them. Let cool then coarsely chop them. Place the nuts in a small bowl. Mix with honey and rose water to make a thick glaze.

Moroccan Chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and spread the glaze over each piece. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped green onion. Serve hot with rice or couscous.

Moroccan Chicken


  • Thanks to Lisa L. for giving us a little jar of saffron as a souvenir from her visits to Spain and Morocco. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice because it takes between 70,000-250,000 flowers to make just one. The stigmas of the flower must be individually and painstakingly handpicked when in full bloom during the autumn season before drying them.
  • Rose water is not the same as rose extract/essence. The latter is derived from floral oils and is sometimes steeped in alcohol that makes the flavor taste more concentrated. Rose water is lighter and is made by distilling rose petals in water.
  • Search our blog for more chicken recipes.