Cooking with Spices For Dummies
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Achiote paste, a blend of spices and vinegar, gives this roasted chicken its distinctive orange hue and spicy aroma. Roasted achiote chicken is a recipe straight from the Yucatán — as Mexican as you can get!

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marination

Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

3 serrano chiles

7 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup achiote paste

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3-pound roasting chicken

3 medium yellow onions

1 head garlic

1 orange

3 Roma tomatoes

  1. Stem and seed the serrano chiles, if desired.

  2. Peel the garlic cloves.

  3. Combine the orange juice, achiote paste, serranos, garlic cloves, pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor.

  4. Puree until smooth.

  5. Add the cilantro and vinegar and puree until smooth.

  6. Rinse and pat dry the chicken.

  7. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, inside and out.

  8. Place in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  10. Lift the chicken from the marinade and place it on a work surface.

  11. Peel one of the onions.

  12. Cut the peeled onion, head of garlic, and orange in half and stuff inside the chicken’s cavity.

  13. Tie the legs together and place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, breast-side down.

  14. Roast for 20 minutes.

  15. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast for 20 minutes longer.

  16. Cut the remaining onions into 3 slices each.

  17. Cut the tomatoes into 4 slices each.

  18. Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over high heat.

  19. Char the onion slices until blackened on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

  20. Char the tomato slices on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside with the onions.

  21. Turn the chicken, breast-side up, and bake for about 25 minutes.

    Baste occasionally with the pan juices.

  22. Add the charred onion and tomato slices to the roasting pan and continue baking for 20 minutes.

    The chicken is done when a drumstick feels loose when jiggled and the skin is golden brown.

  23. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

  24. Serve warm with the charred onions and tomatoes.

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