pollo a la plancha with sweet potatoes

“A la plancha” is just a fancy – aka Spanish – way for saying grilled. So if you have a grill, or even a George Foreman, you can make this. It has wonderful, Latin American flavors, and goes great with a beer on a hot summer day. The key to this recipe is marinating the chicken for 60-90 minutes before you intend to cook it. Any longer, and the meat gets mealy and loses its nice texture. It also doesn’t absorb any more of the marinade. Any less, and you don’t really get the benefits of marinating. Cooks Illustrated did a test.. actually, first a word about Cooks’. I often refer to Cooks Illustrated as a jumping-off point for some of my recipes because they go about their publishing in a very scientific way. They ask, “How can we make the best marinated chicken?” and then spend weeks on end trying different possibilities, weeding out what doesn’t work, and only publishing what does. So, when I use one of their recipes, I know I’m getting the best way possible to accomplish what I want to do. Other cooking magazine don’t go about their recipe production in the same way, and they certainly don’t explain “why it works” like Cooks’ does. So, if you don’t already have a subscription, I would highly recommend one. It’s a great investment.


sweet potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut about 1/3 of an inch thick. No need to obsess over the length, just know that the thicker they are, the longer they will need to cook, and probably at a slightly cooler temperature so they don’t burn before they finish cooking
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

pollo a la plancha

  • 2 – 3 lbs of chicken breasts. Make a few slits, about an eighth of an inch down in each breast to help the marinade penetrate the meat
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 -3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or soy alternative
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped



  1. In a large container, place the sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt. Mix around so that the sweet potatoes are evenly coated.
  2. Allow to rest at room temperature for as long as you’re going to marinate the chicken
  3. In another large container, mix all the non-chicken ingredients above until combined
  4. Then add the chicken breasts.
  5. Marinate for 60-90 minutes
  6. Preheat grill. If you’re using charcoal, try to create two distinct zones, one for searing and then one for cooking.
  7. Once the grill is hot, sear the chicken, about 1 minute each side, and then move to a slightly cooler part of the grill and continue to cook, flipping once, for about 15 minutes or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees
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