Cook this: Pollo al pastor de Mi Cocina

“It’s one of those dishes that makes everyone smile because it smells so good,” says Rick Martínez

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Our cookbook of the week is Mi Cocina: Recipes and Delights from My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martínez. Tomorrow we will offer an interview with the author.

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To try another recipe from the book, check out: Aguachile (Fresh Butterfly Shrimp with Avocado, Cucumber, Lime, and Spicy Serrano Salsa) and Poc Chuc (Grilled Pork Marinated in Orange and Lime).

This Rotisserie-Style Roast Chicken Might Be Rick Martínez’s Favorite Recipe Mi Cocina. “I say that with hesitation because, of course, it’s like your child. But I love doing it,” he laughs. “It’s so good. And it’s one of those things that I didn’t expect to be in the book.

Martínez has written many Mexican recipes over the years and didn’t want to cover the same ground in Mi Cocina. Al pastor (“in the style of the shepherd”) is an iconic Mexican meat filling. Since he had already developed pastor-style recipes (like these versions of pork and shrimp), he had no intention of including another one in the book.

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While wandering around Guanajuato in central Mexico, however, he came across a rosticería specializing in pollo al pastor. Al pastor is often made with pork roasted on a vertical spit called a trompo, which Lebanese immigrants brought to Mexico in the 19th century. Martínez was immediately struck by the idea of ​​combining poultry with an al pastor marinade.

“I had never seen this before, and the smell was amazing. I ended up buying a rotisserie chicken for a snack,” he recalls.

Martínez hadn’t realized how popular roast chicken was in Mexico until he arrived in Guanajuato. The rosticerías reminded him of the pouf roti (roast chicken) spots of Paris where rotisserie birds are on display, spinning and crackling, the potatoes catching the cooking juices. In Mexico, vendors typically roast chickens in wood-fired ovens, he says, along with grease-absorbing potatoes, onions and chili peppers.

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  1. Aguachile (fresh butterfly prawns with avocado, cucumber, lime and spicy serrano salsa) from Mi Cocina.

    Cook this: Aguachile de Mi Cocina

  2. Poc chuc (grilled pork marinated in orange and lime) from Mi Cocina.

    Cook this: Poc chuc – grilled pork marinated in orange and lime – from Mi Cocina

Here, Martínez oven roasts an achiote-brushed chicken surrounded by pineapple and onions, which he serves with tortillas, salsas (he suggests salsa de aguacate and salsa de chile de árbol) and coriander leaves. “It took me a long time to figure out how to do (pollo al pastor) for a home cook,” he says. “And also, to make it look good and be easy.”

Pastoral poultry has since become a tradition for Martínez. Back home in Mazatlán, pavo (turkey) al pastor is a Thanksgiving staple.

“It’s just fun to make tacos out of it. This is one of those dishes that (makes) everyone smile because it smells so good. It’s something new, it’s a bit of a twist on something you might already be used to. It’s just good.

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Mi Cocina by Rick Martinez
Mazatlán author Rick Martínez traveled more than 32,000 kilometers and visited all 32 states of Mexico in search of his first book, Mi Cocina. Photo by Clarkson Potter

POLLO AL PASTOR

Spicy-Sweet Chipotle Roast Chicken with Onions and Pineapple

2 tablespoons achiote paste
3 cloves of garlic, finely grated
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp. adobo sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. Morton kosher salt (0.7 oz/20 g), divided
1 tablespoon of agave syrup or honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 whole chicken (4 lbs/1.8 kg)
1 medium pineapple (2.2 lb/988 g), peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced ​​crosswise
1 large white onion (14.6 oz/416 g), halved and thinly sliced

To serve:
Hot corn tortillas (corn flatbread made with ground corn)
Salsas (Martínez suggests salsa de aguacate and salsa de chile de árbol)
coriander leaves

Step 1

In a medium bowl, using a fork, break up the achiote paste so that no large lumps remain. Add the garlic, chiles, adobo sauce, vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt and stir, using the fork to mash into a smooth paste. Vigorously whisk the agave syrup and 1/4 cup olive oil into the annatto mixture until completely smooth.

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2nd step

Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Place the breast side up in the center of a 13×9 inch baking dish. Generously brush the chicken with the achiote sauce, getting into all the nooks and crannies, as well as inside the cavity. The chicken should be completely coated and there should be no sauce left. Tie ends of drumsticks with kitchen twine; tuck the wings under the back.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, onion and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Arrange around the chicken. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour; if you have more time, cover the pan (don’t let it sit at room temperature) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Uncover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

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Step 4

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350°F (177°C). Roast the chicken, tossing the onion and pineapple with the juices in the pan halfway through cooking, until the pineapple is lightly browned, the chicken is dark burgundy and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breasts registers 155°F (68°C). VS ; temperature will rise to 165°F/74°C while chicken rests), for 60-70 minutes.

Step 5

Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken sit uncovered in the pan for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and carve. Serve with roasted pineapple and onions, tortillas, salsas and cilantro.

Serves: 6 to 8

Recipe and image reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martínez copyright © 2022. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Ren Fuller. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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