MEAT MATTERS go bold
If fried chicken was the literal golden child of the last two years, ethnic chicken—prepared in authentic ways from cuisines around the globe—is this year’s exciting newcomer.
As other meat protein prices rise, chefs are once again turning to chicken as a strong meat-based alternative. But they’re choosing to elevate what would otherwise be a simply roasted or
grilled piece of meat by going back to their roots and investigating how different cuisines prepare
chicken in various ways, with bolder spices, sauces and other ingredients.
Peruvian is all the rage these days. A staple in Peruvian cuisine, pollo a la brasa, or spit-roasted chicken, can be seen showcased at Limon Rotisserie in San Francisco’s Mission District,
where whole chickens turn over in a rotisserie-style grill.
At newcomer Chicken + Whiskey, a quick-serve restaurant in Washington, D.C., Venezuelan
chef Enrique Limardo makes a Peruvian-style chicken by brining 2¾-pound whole birds for 12-14
hours. “Traditional ‘Peruvian-style’ chicken uses dark beer, rosemary, cumin and oregano in the
marinade,” he says. “My background in cooking includes several years in certain parts of South
America and the Caribbean islands and countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Argentina,
Aruba and Barbados. So I use additional South American flavors—raw sugarcane, fresh garlic,
fresh onions, bay leaves, vinegar and a touch of chilies for spice.”
In terms of cooking, “You need to have the right rotisserie oven with high-quality natural
charcoal to get that crispy texture of skin that Peruvian chicken is known for,” says Limardo, who
uses specialty ovens made in Peru.
Ethnic chicken adds spice to menus nationwide.
By Amelia Levin