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How to Make Tanta’s Pollo a la Brasa

Giancarlo Valera shares his recipe.

Photos: Jeff Marini

This Peruvian-inspired roast chicken from Tanta chef Giancarlo Valera achieves the holy grail of crisp, burnished skin and succulent meat thanks to a saltwater brine and a flavorful marinade combining soy sauce, cola, and a paste made from fiery ají amarillo chiles.

Giancarlo Valera’s Pollo a la Brasa

Active Time:25 minutes
Total time:6 hours 40 minutes

2 qts. Cold water
3 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 Amish chicken (about 3 lbs.)
¼ cup Ají amarillo paste (available in the international section of most grocery stores)
4 Garlic cloves
3 oz. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Dried oregano
½ tsp. Cumin
½ tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. White vinegar
2 oz. Coca-Cola
2 oz. Lager or Pilsner beer


A raw chicken

Combine water and 2½ tablespoons salt in a large, deep bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken.

Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Rinse the chicken with fresh water and pat dry.


Marinating the chicken

Purée ají amarillo paste, garlic, soy sauce, oregano, cumin, pepper, vinegar, and remaining salt in a blender until smooth.

Stir in cola and beer. Place chicken in a gallon-size resealable freezer bag, add the marinade, and seal.

Massage it all over the bird, set it in a large bowl, and refrigerate for 3 hours.


A roasted chicken

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Place the chicken on a sheet pan, breast side up.

Roast for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Let the chicken rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes before carving.


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