Episode 107: One Good Turn

Peruvian Game Hens with Creamy Salsa Verde

Peruvian Game Hens with Creamy Salsa Verde


Peruvian Game Hens with Creamy Salsa Verde

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 15 minutes to make the marinade, plus 6 to 8 hours to marinate the bird
  • Grill Time: About 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3
  • Method: Spit-roasting
  • Equipment: Can be grilled over charcoal, gas, or wood. You’ll also need kitchen scissors or poultry shears.


For the spice paste:

  • 8 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons pimentòn (Spanish smoked paprika) or sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste or hot paprika
  • 2 tablespoons huacatay paste or finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the spice paste: Pound the garlic and salt to a paste in a mortar with a pestle. Work in the paprika, cumin, pepper, ají amarillo paste, huacatay, lime juice, and olive oil. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a blender or food processor fitted with a small bowl.

Step 2: Add a spoonful of spice paste in the main and front cavity of each game hen. Work a little under the skin. Truss the game hens and spread the remaining spice paste over them. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator, for 6 to 8 hours.

Step 3: Set up your grill for spit-roasting. Thread the birds onto the spit (the spit should go from side to side, not through the neck and main cavities).

Step 4: Spit-roast the game hens until browned and cooked, about 45 minutes, basting with the juices in the drip pan. The internal temperature in the thigh should be 165 degrees. Transfer the hens to a wire rack and let rest for 5 minutes, then cut in half and serve with the following Creamy Salsa Verde.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2018 Barbacoa, Inc.