Peruvian Dinner (Zaida Photography)

I was 15 when I took my first trip overseas.  That excursion was to Peru.  I went with a youth group and we spent one month performing in the streets and working in teams responsible for transporting medical supplies to villages.  It was a life changing experience. 

One distinct memory I have is the food.  I can’t say I enjoyed the home-cooked meals we had in the villages, where I was required to eat every bite as not to be rude to our kind hosts.  The food in Lima was an entirely different story.  I can still remember walking the streets of Lima and seeing restaurants proudly displaying their roasting chickens.  I also remember paying 2 dollars for an entire chicken and a plate of fries.

While living in NYC a co-worker ordered Peruvian food for all of us and upon eating this meal I thought why have I not tried to recreate this before.  That weekend I did just that and over the last couple years this meal has become a family favorite.

Peruvian Dinner
Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

Roasted Chicken

2 split chicken breasts, with bone and skin
1 can chicken broth
olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place rack in roasting pan and lay chicken on top of rack.
  3. Pour 1/2 can of chicken broth evenly over breasts, reserve the remaining broth for the rice recipe below.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over each breast.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  6. Roast uncovered for 45 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Cooking Notes:

  • If you have a large family, roast an entire chicken and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • If roasting an entire chicken, stuff with chopped onion and garlic.  Discard before serving.
  • Check breasts at the 35 minute mark, if you feel the skin is becoming too brown cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, creating a tent.
  • After 45 minutes, check to see if chicken is cooked by using a thermometer.  You want to test the biggest part of breast however do not push thermometer through the breast or touch bone.  The thermometer should read 165- 180 and when you remove thermometer the liquids released should be clear.
  • Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, let chicken rest for 10 minutes.  This allows the juices to redistribute meaning the meat will be juicy, juicy!

*While the chicken is roasting prepare the remaining recipes*

Aji Sauce

1/2 head dark green leafy lettuce, ends removed and cut into thirds
1/2 bunch of cilantro
3 scallions, ends removed and cut into thirds
1 jalapeno, ends removed and cut into thirds
1 garlic clove, peeled, ends removed and cut into thirds
1 T. mayonnaise
1/4 cup water

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and puree on low.
  2. Keep refrigerated while preparing the remaining recipes.

Cooking Notes:

  • You may need to stop blender a couple times and push ingredients down to the bottom with a big spoon.
  • If your blender will just not puree the ingredients, add a little bit more water.
  • Be sure to taste the sauce and add salt & pepper to your liking.

Yellow Rice and Peas

1 box of yellow rice (Goya brand)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas

  1. Follow the directions on the box substituting the water with the remaining chicken broth.
  2. 2 – 4 minutes before rice is completely cooked, stir in frozen peas and continue to keep covered.

Pinto Beans and Tortillas

1 can pinto beans
1 package of flour tortillas

  1. Rinse pinto beans, removing all the gunk.
  2. Gently heat the beans over medium heat.
  3. Season with pepper.
  4. Using oven, warm tortillas. 

Cooking Notes:

  • If you have a gas stove, you can warm the tortillas over the open flame.  Just be sure to flip, flip and flip never leaving the tortilla over the flame for very long to avoid burning.
  • If using “taco size” tortillas, warm 2 per person.

Enjoy!  From my kitchen to yours.
Have left over chicken? Try our Curry Chicken Salad recipe!

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Aji Sauce Ingredients (Zaida Photography)