Chicken / Salad

Peruvian-style grilled chicken w/ avocado salad & ají verde

We’ve never been to Peru, and it’s quite possible we’ll never go. We have a list and Peru isn’t on it. Now, if all of the food there is this good, we might need to consider adding it. Otherwise, we’ll just have to settle for stealing its flavors and recipes and carve out a little Peruvian space in our suburban Philadelphia kitchen. Might be the cheaper route. Less time in the air too.

This week’s creation comes from the folks over at Plated, who frankly have been on a roll in our kitchen lately. A serious roll. Like an Amoroso’s or a Liscio’s, which are the best rolls. But as important as rolls are, they have nothing to do with this dish, and I’m wasting your time talking about bread.

I’ll do breader next time. #Puns4Life

This dish is all about citrus and spice, aka “citrispice” or perhaps even “spicitrus,” which are definitely words. The chicken marinates in a mix of sweet and sour with a blast of spices. The dish is finished with a creamy lime and jalapeño dressing. Bonus points for presentation if you serve the dressing right in your avocado; so long as your avocado doesn’t like a little worse for the wear like ours does.

Pay not attention to that avocado.

Recipe courtesy of Plated
Serves 2

Does It Smoke? Absolutely. Chicken smokes. And because everything from the marinade to the dressing is so well balanced, I’d recommend you smoke your chicken with a combination of flavors. I used mesquite to give it some punch, but apple to give back some of that sweetness. Both flavors of smoke played well with each other, just like everything else in this dish.

The chicken was smoked until about 145, at which point I popped it into a container and put a lid on it to rest. It’s important to note here that 145 is not a safe temperature to eat your chicken and will likely kill you and everyone you care about. The reason I took it off so early is because this recipe calls for you to char that bird. So I smoked it slowly, then took the training wheels off of the smoker and let it burn to ungodly temperatures before returning it to the grates and charring for a couple of minutes on each side it to finish cooking to 165 degrees. Always 165 degrees.

Don’t skimp on the smoke: If you’re making this from scratch, make sure you use smoked paprika. For one, it’s what the dish calls for. Secondly, if you’re thinking “oh he’s obsessed with smoke,” you’re right. But in this case, I think it’s warranted. Paprika is good, but it’s sort of just “there” for me. A lot of BBQ shows and professionals on them point out that its added to give meat a red color and doesn’t do much else that’s really notable. Smoked paprika adds something to the flavor, which I don’t find basic paprika does.

But definitely dip your toes in the smoked paprika pool first. Don’t just go diving into the deep end. You might like it but want to add a little bit of it depending on your tastes, as opposed to just using all of the smoked paprika in your city.

Substitute: I’d recommend subbing out the mayonnaise in the dressing with a greek yogurt. We tend to do this ourselves in most recipes that call for mayonnaise simply because we don’t really like mayonnaise. Don’t get me wrong – it’s good. But it’s painfully unhealthy and too much can make a dish heavy and make you bloated. Or make the dish bloated and make you heavy. Either way, it’s not great for you or your waistline. Greek yogurt is an excellent, light and flavorful substitute for mayo and/or sour cream in almost all cases.

Just read the label and make sure it’s plain Greek, 2% or 0%. A fruity-based yogurt is going to really mess things up, as will something chocolately. All kinds of wrong.

Avocad-OH NO: ALWAYS check your ingredients. In the case with subscriptions boxes, check when they arrive, because certain things don’t need to go in the refrigerator. Avocado is one of those things. Putting your avocado in the fridge speeds up the ripening process, so instead of a perfectly green and smooth avocado, the insides begin to turn and show their imperfections, while the texture begins to mush. As great as this dish is, if you were judging on looks alone, ours is closer to looking like a fail. So much so that I’m not posting it to Imgur, Reddit or Instagram, where image is everything and where people have a tendency to be a little quick to judge and a tad much with there criticisms.

Translation: If it ain’t perfect, some people on the Internet can be jerks.

But I’m happy to share it here, in my safe space, because you apparently like me for some reason


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