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A Peruvian-inspired marinade livens up this one-pan weeknight chicken dinner

Staff, America's Test Kitchen on

Who knew one sheet pan could provide so much depth in flavor in one dish? Before you get everything together on the pan, start with the marinade in a blender. The marinade features refreshing mint, herby oregano, and pungent garlic; it also gets a subtle earthiness from cumin and smoked paprika, plus a little kick from half a habanero chile and brightness from lime zest and juice.

For the sides, roasted sweet potatoes fit the dish’s Peruvian profile nicely, and roasted cauliflower adds a deep, nutty complexity. Giving all the vegetables a head start in the oven means they can brown on the uncrowded sheet and then roast to perfection with the chicken. Tossing the vegetables and accumulated chicken juices with peppery arugula while the chicken rests adds a fresh flavor to complete the dish.

One-Pan Peruvian Chicken with Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Note: You can substitute 1 tablespoon of minced serrano chile for the habanero, if desired. Wear gloves when handling the chile.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

6 garlic cloves, peeled

3 1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup juice (2 limes)

2 teaspoons table salt, divided

2 teaspoons smoked paprika


2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 habanero chile, stemmed and seeded

4 (10-ounce) chicken leg quarters, trimmed

1 small head cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch florets

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, halved and sliced through root end into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

3 cups (3 ounces) baby arugula

1. Process 3 tablespoons oil with mint, garlic, 1 tablespoon each pepper, cumin, sugar, and lime zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt,2 teaspoons paprika and oregano, and the habanero in blender until smooth, 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer marinade to a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat chicken with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss cauliflower, potatoes, onion, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt together on a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake until the top edges of the cauliflower and potatoes are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove sheet from oven. Using a spatula, push vegetables to 1 side of the sheet (they will no longer be in a single layer). Place chicken, skin side up, on the now-empty side of the sheet. Roast until chicken registers 175 degrees and vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through roasting.

4. Transfer chicken to a carving board; let rest for 10 minutes. Add arugula to the sheet with vegetables and gently toss to combine. Transfer vegetable mixture to platter. Separate leg quarters into thighs and drumsticks, then transfer to a platter with vegetable mixture. Serve.

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