Piri Piri Chicken
Piri piri, or peri peri, is the Portuguese term for hot chilies or the hot sauce made from them. Piri piri recipes are especially popular in regions of South Africa, and recipes vary from region to region, so this Piri Piri Chicken is my take on this hot and spicy dish.
Full disclosure, I first tried piri piri chicken at a popular food chain restaurant, Nando’s. I know, I know, it is very unlike me to eat at any form of food chain, but sometimes when you are with a group you just need to roll with the punches and make the best of your options. (I mean, there are much worse food chains to eat at!) The good news is, the experience wasn’t too shabby! The food quality itself was less than ideal, as I am sure their dishes are made with refined oils, lower welfare meats and added sugars, but the positive I took away was that I am a big fan of the flavours of piri piri! Although recipes vary from region to region, common ingredients are chilli, lemon, oil and red bell peppers, so I figured why not give a try myself.
A quick combination and herbs and spices makes a really delicious rub for the chicken, and with the addition of a few more ingredients, it is easy to make a rich, garlicy, tangy and spicy piri piri sauce. To maximize juiciness and flavour I think it is important to use bone-in chicken for this recipe, if not an entire spatchcock chicken, for a delicious dinner of Piri Piri Chicken. For the best results you’ll want to use the best quality chicken, I source all of my free-range chicken directly from truLOCAL.
Piri Piri Chicken
This recipe calls for a separate marinade and sauce for extra flavour, however the marinade or sauce alone would still work well. The sauce makes quite a bit so you can store it in the fridge to use as a marinade for other dishes as well.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Mains
- Cuisine: Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
- 4 chicken leg quarters, skin on and bone in
- Handful fresh thyme, thick stems removed
- 2 bird’s-eye chillies (or red Thai chillies)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 bird’s-eye chillies (or red Thai chillies), seeds removed
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Lay chicken quarters onto a baking sheet, skin side up.
- Combine marinade ingredients in a small food processor or blender, and blitz on high until well combined.
- Evenly spread the marinade onto each chicken quarter, using your hands to rub it in. If you are able to let it marinade for 1-2 hours you will get more flavour, however it can be cooked right away.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 45 minutes. For extra crispy skin, turn on the broiler setting for the last 3-5 minutes
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Begin by roasting both the red peppers and the red onion; this can be done by adding the vegetables to the tray with the chicken, done in a cast iron pan or on a gas grill. I used a cast iron skillet for this step, but any method will work. The intention is to get good char marks on the peppers and grill the onions; the bell pepper skins will be removed so burn marks are totally fine.
- Once the bell peppers and onion and have roasted, allow to cool slightly. Once cool to the touch, remove the core and the skins from the red bell peppers; this can be done by hand or by using the back of a spoon.
- Add peeled red bell peppers, roasted red onion and all other sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse until a smooth consistency is formed. Set sauce aside.
- Once cooked, remove chicken from the oven and transfer to a plate. Serve with red pepper sauce, and sides of your choice.
- The chicken can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, and the sauce can be stored