A Walkaway Wonder

Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce used for grilled meat; it comes in a green version (chimichurri verde) and a red version (chimichurri rojo) and seems to come from Argentinian cuisine. It is made of finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, vegetable oil, oregano, and white vinegar. In Uruguay, the dominant flavoring is parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh oregano.

This Chimichurri Roast Chicken is a slight riff on the traditional in that it uses red wine vinegar instead of white, and incorporates both parsley and oregano. It can really be made with any combination of herbs you have on hand and spiced with chilies for an added kick. We’ve made numerous variants over the years, and never cease to be amazed at how it enhances meat, fish and vegetables.

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This herb-flecked chicken is a walkaway dish; once you stick it in the oven, it’s
completely hands off. There’s no fussy finish to worry about. Just take it out and
serve with your favorite sides. So it was a perfect recipe for the very rainy day we were experiencing when using the outside grill was not a preferred option.

My preferences run toward the white meat, so I cooked a mix of chicken breasts and thighs and did not include any legs. The choice is totally up to you. I made the chimichurri about 7 hours prior to dinner, so instead of marinating the meat in a baking dish, I put the breasts in one ziploc and the thighs in another, both with the marinade, and refrigerated them until just before starting to cook.

Due to the large size of my chicken breasts, they took an additional 10 minutes in the oven after the thighs came to temp. If you use smaller breasts and/or legs, you likely won’t have to deal with two cooking times. The high oven temperature and the oil in the marinade resulted in super-crispy and flavorful skin with juicy meat interiors—not a recipe you’ll want to walkway from completely, for it’s a keeper!

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Ingredients

  • 2 packed cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks, or a mix of both

Directions

  1. Put the parsley, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a blender, and purée until smooth. Reserve half for serving. (the sauce will keep up to one week covered and refrigerated.)
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  2. Put the chicken in a 9×13-inch baking dish, and season all over with 1 tsp. salt. Pour the remaining half of the chimichurri over the chicken and turn to coat the chicken with it. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
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  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and position a wire rack over the baking sheet.
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  4. Place the chicken skin side up on the wire rack (discard the remaining chimichurri in the baking dish). Roast until golden brown and cooked through (165°F), rotating the baking sheet halfway through roasting so that the chicken browns evenly, 35 to 45 minutes total. Serve with some of the reserved chimichurri.
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