Pollo Al Horno

pollo dorado

I was looking for Spanish roast chicken recipes, when I came across a fabulous Mexican Pollo al Horno (chicken from the oven). Jauja Cocina Mexicana (Juaja the Mexican cook) grinds up a fabulous marinade and rubs it on and under the chicken’s skin before roasting it in the oven. I’ve changed a couple of things and turned the marinade into an adobo, by adding chillis, but all credit goes to the lovely Juaja!


Receta de Pollo Al Horno:

a medium free range chicken (about 3lbs/1.5kg)

6 cloves garlic
10 black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon oregano
a pinch chipotle chilli flakes
a pinch ancho chilli flakes
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera picante
1 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera dulce
2 dessertspoons cider vinegar
3 dessertspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion
1/2 pint home made chicken stock
a glass of dry white wine

ajo, comino y cilantro

Grind up the garlic, pepper, allspice, corriander, cumin, oregano, chillies and salt with a mortar and pestle. You will get more flavour from the allspice, corriander and cumin if you warm them up a little before grinding, but don’t cook or burn them!


When the garlic mixture has been ground, sprinkle on the pimentón and mix in the cider vinegar with the pestle, followed by the olive oil to make a thick paste.

pollo en adobo

Gently lift the skin of the chicken (breast and back), by working your fingers inside. Be careful not to tear it – see Juaja’s video for visual instruction, if you haven’t done this before (it’s quite common to lift the skin of a turkey and add butter at Christmas, to keep the bird moiste). Spread the adobo evenly under the skin and on the outside of the bird, saving a teaspoonful for the cavity. Refridgerate the chicken for a couple fof hours to allow the meat to absorbe all the flavour. Do allow the bird to come to room temperature before cooking.

Heat the oven to 220ºC, put half a large onion inside the cavity, pour on half a pint of home made chicken stock and a glass of dry white wine. Cover the top of the bird loosely with a layer of thick aluminium foil and remove to the oven. Turn the heat down to 180ºC  then cook for 90 minutes basting occasionally. Let the bird out of the cage for the last 20 minutes to brown the skin! You can tell that a chicken is cooked when the legs become loose and the juices run clear, but if you want to be exact, the internal temperature (thigh and breast) should have reached 75ºC.

salsa picante

When golden brown, rest the chicken in foil for 20 – 30 minutes while you make gravy with the juices. Serve with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a glass of Petit Forlong, a tinto from Cádiz.

About Mad Dog

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12 Responses to Pollo Al Horno

  1. Glorious chicken. My Mexican friends toast their spices (like cumin and coriander and peppercorns) over a hot dry pan before grinding them, too. I bet this was a super flavoursome dinner.

  2. Audrey says:

    Fantastic idea to push the marinade sub-cutaneous! Obvious really, saves time and flavour -genius ! If we could now convince the chickens to drink wine whilst still alive .

  3. I see you’re also a fan of Jauja! I’ve been teaching myself Mexican cooking lately (with a view of possibly retiring to Mexican in a couple of years) and recently discovered her. She’s an excellent teacher with enormous charm.

  4. TammyRenea says:

    I love Juaja Cocina! I use some of her recipes regularly. This chicken looks so good

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