The folks at Cook's Illustrated created this recipe: "We recommend salting the bird and rubbing a flavorful paste all over the meat; this dried out the skin and jump-started our dish's flavor. Mint and smoked paprika served as convenient alternatives to traditional but hard-to-find Peruvian ingredients. A vertical roaster and two-pronged cooking process worked just as well as a rotisserie and gave our roast chicken perfectly cooked meat and crisp skin."
This recipe calls for a vertical poultry roaster. If you don't have one, substitute a 12-ounce can of beer. Open the beer and remove half. Spray the can lightly with nonstick cooking spray and proceed. If the top of the chicken is becoming too dark during roasting in step 3, place a 7-inch-square piece of foil over the neck and wingtips. If habaneros are unavailable, 1 tablespoon of minced serrano chile can be substituted. Wear gloves when working with hot chilies.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons finely grated zest and 1/4 cup juice from 2 limes
1 teaspoon minced habanero chile (see note)
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken
Process all ingredients except chicken in blender until smooth paste forms, 10 to 20 seconds. Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, carefully loosen skin over thighs and breast and remove excess fat. Rub half of paste beneath skin of chicken. Spread entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining paste. Tuck wingtips underneath chicken.
Place chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 24.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place vertical roaster on rimmed baking sheet. Slide chicken onto vertical roaster so chicken stands upright. Roast until skin just begins to turn golden and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 140 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes.
Carefully remove chicken and pan from oven and increase temperature to 500 degrees.
When oven is heated to 500 degrees, place 1 cup water in bottom of pan and return pan to oven. Roast until entire skin is browned and crisp, and instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, about 20 minutes (replenish water as necessary to keep pan from smoking), rotating bird 180 degrees halfway through cooking.
Carefully remove chicken from oven and let rest, still on vertical roaster, 20 minutes. Using kitchen towel, carefully lift chicken off vertical roaster and onto platter or cutting board. Carve chicken and serve, passing spicy mayonnaise separately.