Pollo Asado is not a project for beginners. Yet, when my daughter chose to cook it, I was amazed at her capability and the bold citrus juices in this marinated grilled chicken.
Pollo Asado is delicious - every time I order it at a restaurant. I would not have attempted this Mexican recipe on my own. But I also don't attempt much on my own besides my 6 comfortable slow cooker recipes, none of which involve bone-in chicken.
But my daughter started showing an interest in cooking. And being in the kitchen each evening with a list of colorful ingredients has been a creative salve for both of us in this endless virtual year.
Like many moms, dinner had become a chore to get through. I made the same old stuff that worked. Mexican cuisine ALWAYS works. I make quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos on the regular. But my daughter now peruses cookbooks looking for creative, colorful meals that look good in pictures. So I find myself in the grocery store, preparing to marinate chicken in orange juice and lime.
Pollo Asado is marinated chicken. "Asado" means roasted, and "pollo" means chicken. Still with me? You can marinate your "pollo" in a million different ways before placing it on a charcoal grill. You can use spices such as oregano, cumin, and paprika in different combinations. And you can get your oven to mimic a charcoal grill if it's gray and February, and, honestly, your grill is shoved behind the backyard fence somewhere underneath the dead Christmas tree.
Also, the Pioneer Woman claims that she loves the creativity with the cooked food when it's done just as much prepping the flavor beforehand. You can serve this crispy chicken, bone-in, with warm corn tortillas, and pico, cheese, guacamole, grilled onions, cilantro, and any other favorite add-ons that make you feel loved. Get it? There are no rules—just a juicy chicken recipe. Oh, and you might want to purchase that instant-read thermometer for this one.
A few recipe notes: Be sure to give yourself enough time to make the marinade. This is a great after-school project for your child the day before you plan to serve Pollo Asado grilled chicken dinner. Also, the chicken thighs, citrus, onions, and liquid seasonings take up significant room. Be sure to have resealable bags on hand to refrigerate.
And some final parenting notes before you begin. First, let your child guide the cooking. See the ingredient list as a chance to try new things and learn about flavor and good food. My daughter has taught me so much through her cooking interest. We've learned about techniques and different types of peppers that Wal-Mart does NOT sell. Most importantly, we've worked side by side to create nourishing meals and add some seasoning to family life.
Nina Simone's pioneer woman-inspired recipe for pollo asada is a meal worth making together.
peeled and minced
peeled and quartered
whole chicken legs
pico de gallo
pinto or black, but I prefer black
Pioneer Woman Pollo Asado
In a small bowl, mix olive oil, orange juice, lemon, limes, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. Keep leftover juiced fruit. Whisk together. Place chicken legs, juiced fruit, and quartered onions in large plastic resealable bags. Pour marinade over the top, tossing to cover completely. Let fruit and chicken marinate for at least two hours; the longer, the better. Remove bags and toss several times over the hours.
Preheat broiler on high. Place rack on the bottom of the oven.
Arrange chicken legs on a broiler pan or any pan with a drip tray. Broil for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken once halfway through to coat the other side.
Warm tortillas wrapped in foil in a separate oven at 300 degrees F or microwave on a plate for 15-20 seconds.
Serve pollo asado with a fiesta of sides: tortillas, beans, guacamole, salsa verde, guacamole, sour cream (and, if you're me, Hint o' Lime Tostitos)
But as much as your child guides the recipe choice and ingredient shopping, be available for the challenging oven or stove work. This was a fantastic recipe for creating a marinade and other elements. But I handled all of the flipping and grilling meat in the oven. I couldn't have left her alone for that part. While I flipped, she made the pico and guacamole. The team dynamic never wavered. But safety first, Pollo Asado later.