When I grew up and moved out, I realized that not everyone cooked this way. I spotted recipes that featured meat simply seasoned with salt and pepper before hitting the fire, and could not understand that style of cooking. Though I’ve since accepted that some things do work best simply dressed (a great steak, for example), I will always prefer dishes that have spent some time with a great marinade.
The Puerto Rican-style roast chicken is marinated before cooking in a simple blend of spices, garlic, and citrus. I recently teamed up with McCormick spices to show how you can easily add bright Latin flavors to easy traditional recipes (like roast chicken!). Just a few extra and easy-to-find ingredients that take a classic roast chicken recipe from good to incredible.
To make this chicken, you start off with a spice blend of dried cumin, smoked Spanish paprika (my most favorite spice EVER), ground cayenne (for a bit of heat), and dried oregano. This is pureed along with salt (of course), a lot of garlic, pepper, cilantro olive oil, and citrus juice.
Another tip I’ll suggest is that you take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before roasting. This will take some of the chill off the meat, and help it cook evenly.
I love this chicken served with a side of simply roasted vegetables or even just a big and brightly dressed salad. Remember to save the leftover carcass, too. It makes an amazing Latin-flavored soup (though that’s a recipe for another day!).
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Puerto Rican Style Roast Chicken
I used McCormick spices for the recipe below. The four I used can all be found in your favorite well-stocked supermarket!
1 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large orange, juiced + a second orange, cut into quarters
3 limes, juiced
1 large roasting chicken, about 5-7 pounds
Start by preparing the sofrito marinade: In a blender or food processor, combine spices, salt, garlic, chopped pepper, cilantro, olive oil, orange juice and lime juice. Puree until smooth.
Place the chicken breast-side-up in a baking dish or roasting pan, and cover with the marinade, pouring it over and inside the chicken. Use your hands to massage it thoroughly into the chicken, getting some between the skin and the breast. Place the uncovered pan in the refrigerator to marinate (I recommend using the bottom shelf to avoid any spills) for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready to roast. Remove chicken from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in oven and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until skin is crisp and a knife inserted in the thickest part of the thigh produces only clear juices.