Chicken Piri Piri is a really well known dish in England these days, thanks mainly to Nandos. It is a dish we first discovered over 20 years ago on our first trip to Portugal. I still remember my dad’s face when he tried it – slightly astonished, pained & intrigued – it was a very hot one. At first I think he didn’t know what to make of it but by the time he finished he was converted & still eats it at least twice a week. If he is making dinner we know what we are going to get.
At that time spicy food was not as popular as it is now & us kids didn’t even eat chilli, we used to order it without the piri piri. Nowadays I like it extra hot & it seems so does the whole of England, there is always a queue in Nandos. The thing is that even without the chilli this is a tasty way to prepare chicken. That elusive background flavour comes from the Mediterranean marinade with herbs, olive oil, garlic & vinegar. This is the most important part of the recipe even though it is named after the chilli.
If you don’t have fresh herbs use dried ones but do not miss out the lemon & vinegar. We always have a stock of piri piri in the cupboard as my dad brings it back from Portugal all the time but if you don’t have that just use a hot chilli powder. Cayenne powder has a similar quality which is clean & hot.
We eat this a lot & usually serve it with some salad & or potatoes. Becky’s Portuguese potatoes are fabulous with this. This is how to make an authentic chicken piri piri which is even better than Nandos. We learned it in Portugal many years ago & have eaten it regularly ever since.
Chicken Piri Piri Recipe
1 chicken (cut into portions)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic
2-3 sprigs rosemary
10 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 heaped tbsp piri piri powder (or any hot chilli, piri piri is similar to cayenne)
salt & pepper
1. The chicken should be marinated in herbs and lemon first. Mix together the olive oil lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Bruise the garlic and herbs well and add these to the liquid. Stir so that the oils from the herbs and garlic start to infuse the olive oil.
2. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, cover & leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours – I like to do this in the morning so it has 5-6 hours to infuse or overnight is fine too.
3. Once you are ready to cook the chicken take the portions out of the marinade and brush off any herbs or garlic. Now lay them in a roasting tray and add a little olive oil (a couple of tablespoons should be enough). Season with lots of salt and a little pepper and then the chilli. I use a heaped tablespoon but you should add as much as you like.
4. The best way to cook this is on the bar b que but in winter I roast it in a hot oven. Either way it is juicy, tasty & addictive.
We hope you enjoy this chicken piri piri recipe. If you’re looking for other nice ways to eat chicken then pop over to our Summer Chicken Salad recipe and enjoy!