BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Achiote Chicken with Grilled Scallions

with 5 comments


Thanks again to Julia for this marvelous Latin chicken recipe. Finding whole annatto seeds proved to be a quest, but I finally found them at a Mexican bakery/tienda. The storekeeper told me most Mexicans just buy the ready-made (MSG-laden?) paste. But BaltimOregon pretends to be an intrepid cook. I also should have ground the spices in a coffee grinder instead of mini-food processor. My paste didn’t emulsify but still made for tangy coated chicken. Should I have chopped the grilled scallions? They came out a bit limp. The best part was butchering the whole chicken by myself for the first time (see a video on how to do so below). I’m hooked though I had trouble locating the precious oyster during the dissection. See below for Julia’s delicious recipe. I served it with quinoa. And we had a simple New Orleans Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeno Bisque to start.

Achiote Chicken with Grilled Scallions

preheat 450

1 whole chicken
2 Tbs annatto seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp oregano, dried
6 whole allspice berries
1 tsp sea salt
4 cloves pressed/smashed garlic
4 Tbs lime juice

1/4 cup achiote paste
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 bunch scallions
1 lime
1/2 head shredded cabbage

cut the chicken into 9 pieces, save the back and wings for stock. season the chicken with salt and pepper. place in a medium bowl while making the achiote paste.

paste: combine annatto, cumin, oregano, allspice and salt in a grinder to make a powder. mix the powder in a small bowl with garlic and lime juice. measure out 1/4 cup and store the rest in the fridge.

puree the 1/4 cup of paste with orange juice in a blender.

using fingers, gently loosen chicken skin, spread the paste beneath the skin and over the chicken’s surface. place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan. roast until chicken is cooked and skin is crisp ~25-30 mins., broil for a little if skin is not crisp.

while chicken is cooking peel the outer layer from the green onions, squeeze the juice of one lime over them, and grill until soft and browned from the grill pan. shred cabbage and use as a bedding for chicken and scallions.

Here’s the link on how to cut-up your own whole chicken:

Written by baltimoregon

January 26, 2009 at 2:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Looks tasty- I’m guessing to brush the scallions with oil and grill on super hot so they grill, not steam.


    January 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm

  2. Good suggestion. We just need a real grill, not a grill pan. But if I got it hot enough…


    January 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm

  3. your photographer didnt do it justice


    January 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  4. YUM! i haven’t made this recipe in a few years, and yet it always appeals somehow– it’s just so unique…i mean, you had to go to how many stores to even find the correct ingredients?!

    really, how was it? i think i would cook the chicken a little lower- 400 or 425…450 seems like it would work best in my mama’s old electric oven 🙂

    and i like tom’s suggestion for really blasting the scallions with heat…
    for another great accompaniment, although granted another time-consuming one, try this polenta with homemade adobo sauce, which is unmi saperstien’s recipe:

    adobo sauce

    1 onion finely chopped
    1 stalk celery finely chopped
    1 small carrot “”
    1 TBS olive oil
    1 TBS garlic, peeled and chopped finely
    2 TBS maple syrup
    2 TBS worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup OJ, fresh squeezed
    1/2 lime juiced
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 tsp chipotle chile canned in adobo
    1 tsp chile powder
    14.5 oz cannned tomatoes- whole peeled
    salt and pepper to taste


    2 Tbs olive oil
    3 Tbs green garlic, finely chopped (this is a spring thing- you could prob use regular garlic right now or maybe scallions would be better?)
    1 cup polenta
    4 cups water

    Heat olive oil, add onion, celery, carrot until carmelized. add garlic and cook for about a minute. add maple syrup and cook until it bubbles and carmelizes.

    deglaze the pan with OJ and lime juice. add worcestershire sauce, chipotle chili, chili powder, cinnamon stick and tomatoes. s&p. lower the heat and simmer ~30 minutes.

    (can blend the sauce if you want it really smooth)

    while sauce is simmering, make the polenta:

    heat a saucepan with the 2 TBs olive oil then add the garlic. sauce a little, add the water and bring to a boil. slowly whisk in the polenta. cook around 25 mins stirring a lot until polenta is thick and creamy.

    some good add-ins- parmesan, beans, whatever is around…


    there in spirit

    January 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm

  5. yeah slower cooking always a good idea with chicken. Luckily the Mexican store was right next to the grocery store, so no real detour. Is this the polenta you made this weekend? Yum! Who is Unmi?


    January 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

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