Whole Roasted Chicken in Adobo

Roasted Chicken in Adobo
Penny De Los Santos


For the chicken and sauce:
1whole chicken, giblets removed (about 4 pounds)
1/2teaspoon salt per pound of chicken
2 plum tomatoes
1/2medium onion
2cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4cup raw peanuts
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 morita chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 dried árbol chiles
2 dried chipotle chiles
1/4cup white vinegar
1tablespoon vanilla extract
1 lemon
1 smallbunch thyme
For the vegetables:
12cloves garlic, peeled
12small red or white potatoes, cut in half
6small beets, cut into quarters, or eighths if they're large
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. A day ahead, season the chicken generously with the salt and refrigerate in a covered container for about 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, warm a comal or nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook until soft and blackened in spots, 4 to 8 minutes. Place 3 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat a small skillet to low heat. Toast the peanuts and cinnamon, stirring constantly, until the peanuts turn a golden brown color, 2 to 3 minutes. (If black spots appear, lower the flame.) Transfer to a bowl. Raise the heat to medium and quickly toast the chiles in batches, 5 to 10 seconds per side or until aromatic, careful not to burn them.
  4. Snip off the chiles’ stems, and shake out the seeds. Add the chiles to the boiling water and cook until the skins soften, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender jar, and discard the water. Add the charred tomatoes, onion, garlic, peanuts, cinnamon, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Blend on high into a very smooth, thick paste. Season with salt.
  5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and drain off any excess liquid. Slather with the adobo sauce, spreading it over and underneath the skin. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour any remaining adobo on top. Refrigerate for 24 hours. The next day, bring the chicken to room temperature, uncovered, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Place the chicken breast-side up on a V-shaped rack set over a roasting pan. Cut the lemon in half and place it and the thyme in the chicken’s cavity. Set the chicken in the middle of your oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Toss the vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper and add to the roasting pan. Lower the temperature to 425°F and cook until the chicken is crispy and the juices run clear, or the internal temperature measures 165°F, about 1 more hour, turning the vegetables occasionally so they don’t burn.
  8. Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before serving. Remove the lemon and thyme from the cavity, and slice. Serve with the vegetables.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Eat Mexico © 2015 by Lesley Téllez, Kyle Books.