So last weekend when I went to get my usual Sunday treat from Union Square Donuts, I happened to stumble upon this hole-in-the-wall called Machu Chicken. I think “stumble upon” is the wrong word. The moment I left the donut shop, I caught this smell of amazing charcoal goodness. I didn’t know what it was. It could have been any meat, but man did it smell good. When I finally tracked it down toe Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken and Grill, I was surprised to find another party of three saying the exact same thing I did - that they had to find out where this amazing smell came from.

I went in and this place wasn’t really that big. The decor reminded me of an outdoor Hawaiian bar, which can be rather fun. Anyhow, there were a ton of Peruvian dishes on the menu and even a drink called chica morada, which is made with purple corn. But even with the abundance of choice, I went straight for their signature - the charcoal chicken, and man, did I make the right choice. I knew I had to go home and find a recipe.

My recipe was adapted from Serious Eats Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken. Now I baked this chicken, which I’ll have to admit, took away that amazing charcoal goodness, but the spice rub for this recipe is amazing and I’ll be happy to make it a part of any of my meals. Maybe I’ll try this again in the summer when I have the charcoal grill out.

Grind Spices in Mortar and Pestle (or Mixer)

Spice Paste

Spread Spice Paste over Chicken Thighs

Serve with Yellow Rice

Ingredients

(4-5 people)

For the Chicken: - 8-10 chicken thighs - 4 teaspoons kosher salt - 2 tablespoons ground cumin - 2 tablespoons paprika - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper - 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon) - 2 tablespoons white vinegar - 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

Directions

  1. Grind together salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and garlic
  2. Add vinegar and oil to spices and mix until a paste is formed.
  3. Spread paste over chicken thighs
  4. Bake for 40 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven. Chicken can also be grilled 10-15 minutes per side.