Salvadoran roast chicken with gravy recipe

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  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 1 whole roasting chicken, 6–8 lb (2.7–3.5 kg)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground annatto seed (or ground turmeric)
  • 3 lb (1.5 kg) tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 batch relajo
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white wine
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Relajo (Spice Mixture)
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp annatto seeds
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Let chicken rest at room temperature for an hour. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and annatto and rub again. Fold wings behind back of chicken and truss legs—tie them together so that they sit close to the body. Set aside.
  2. On medium-low heat, toast all ingredients for relajo until mixture is fragrant and sesame seeds are golden. Remove pan from heat and set spices aside. Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic in pan, sprinkle with relajo, then nestle chicken in middle. Add wine and chicken stock.
  3. Roast for between 90 minutes and 2 hours, until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) and juices run clear when poked with a knife between leg and thigh. Baste every 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pan each time for even browning. If chicken browns too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and, if you haven’t already, tent it with foil. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, process roasted veggies and chicken juices through the finest disc on a food mill or press through a fine-mesh strainer back into pan or into a saucepan. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Place pan on medium heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

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