Chili Spiced Roasted Chicken or Chile Polo al Horno

Chile Polo al Horno Asada from Drick's Rambling Cafe
a.k.a. Red Stained Chicken

Once again, my intention to cook outdoor this chicken using a chili/achiote mopping sauce on the grill was thwarted when the rain gods took over my plans. I therefore converted my recipe to an oven method and frankly, I think I like it better with the added vegetables roasting along side. The vegetables picked up a little of the flavor which turned out really great.

This is an exceptional dish as the chicken comes out very tasty and moist while the vegetables simmer and roast to perfection. The ancho chili brings about a very developed taste, almost as if using the Guajillo chilies of Mexico although ancho is not as hot and the use of achiote molido is used for color, hence the 'red stain' name and makes for a fiery looking bird. But that is not the case, in fact, the peppers along with the other spices bring out the sweetness of a fine roasted chicken. Enjoy!

Chili Spiced Roasted Chicken
my take on Chile Polo al Horno Asada
serves 4 to 6

1 -4 to 5 pound chicken, cut-up, halved or spatchcocked

Chili Chicken Paste:
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon annato powder (achiote molido)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 6 garlic toes, peeled and pressed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice from Mexican or Key limes
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened or heated

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • juice of 1 Mexican lime (or Key West)
  • 3 garlic toes, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 2 cups ice

  • 1 large onion, sliced thick
  • 3 each - yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, new potatoes -all cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • slices of red bell pepper and sweet onions as desired
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Make the chili paste by whisking ingredients together in a small bowl or saucepan. (I toasted the spices just a bit first.) Put aside.

Rinse the chicken under running water and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Spathcock or butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone completely with a sharp butcher knife or chicken shears. Some folks remove the breast plate but I just lay it down, skin side up and press to break the wishbone and breast area so that the chicken lays completely flat. Separate the skin from the chicken on the breasts and thigh areas by running your fingers underneath the skin. Place in a large sealable bag or glass dish. Put aside while you make the marinade.

In a small saucepan, heat the marinade ingredients over low just until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the ice water, ice and stir until ice melts. Add marinade to the chicken. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours turning the chicken over every hour. Discard the marinade and let chicken rest for 30 minutes. Pat chicken completely dry with paper towels before applying the chili paste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place onion slices on bottom of a roasting pan. Place chicken on top of onions skin side up. Be sure to use a brush being careful not to stain your clothes while applying the paste. Spoon a little of the rub mixture under the lifted skin areas and then coat the chicken completely. Place the cut up vegetables around chicken and add a little olive oil to any remaining butter paste in the bowl. Brush vegetables with the oil mixture. Lightly add salt and pepper to the vegetables as desired. (I started with the potatoes and carrots on the bottom.)

Insert meat thermometer into the thigh meat away from any bone. Place pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and cook for about 60  minutes. Tent a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken and continue cooking for 30 minutes or until internal temperature registers 170 degrees F. (breast meat should be 165) Remove chicken to a platter, cover with foil and let rest.

Toss the vegetables in the pan drippings and return to the oven to cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove from pan oven. Carve the chicken or cut into serving sections. Serve the vegetable on the side.


  1. Look at all that gorgeous spice. Ijust love the combination in that one pan meal great great dinner!

  2. That is a great sounding chicken dish Drick. I like loosening the skin prior to marinading.

  3. Beautiful recipe! It's totally making us hungry right now.

  4. I picture myself bringing this pan of beauty to the table for Sunday dinner. And totally hogging any leftovers.

  5. looks great I love spicy the hotter the better this has everything in it that I would love on my chicken~


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