Yucatán-Spiced Chicken


These roasted bone-in chicken breasts with a light, citrusy sauce were inspired by Marcie Turney's trip to the Yucatán. At her restaurant, the chicken's burnished color comes from achiote, a paste made with annatto seeds. More Great Chicken Recipes

Yucatán-Spiced Chicken. Photo © John Kernick
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
45 mins


  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange, plus 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes, plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Four 8-ounce chicken breast halves on the bone, with skin

  • 1 large chayote—halved lengthwise, pitted and cut into 12 wedges

  • 1 seeded poblano, cut into thin rings

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings

  • 2 tablespoons each of thinly sliced cilantro and mint


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a blender, puree the orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, garlic, ancho powder, oregano and 1/4 cup of oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish, skin side up, and make 3 deep, crosswise cuts in each breast half. Season the chicken with salt and cover it with the puree, rubbing it into the slits. Spread the chayote, poblano and onion on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt. Roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes, basting a few times, until just white throughout; rotate the pan once halfway through. At the same time, roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until browned and the chayote is crisp-tender.

  3. Preheat the broiler. Broil the chicken 6 inches from the heat until well glazed, 2 minutes. Garnish with the Herbs and serve the chicken and vegetables with the pan juices.

Suggested Pairing

Rich Chardonnay.

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