Sunday, October 13, 2013

Piri Piri... Peri Peri... Pili Pili Chicken – Some like it hot !

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It is Piri Piri? Or Peri Peri? Or Pili Pili ? I lean towards Piri Piri, but whatever you prefer to call it, this spicy chicken dish, which originated in Portugal’s former African colonies, has been a huge hit world wide - as evidenced by the success of Nando’s restaurant chain. I’ve never tasted Nando’s version, which apparently goes from a wussy version that barely registers on the Scoville Scale, to a “throat-scorching” extra h-h-hot!

There’s not much preparation to this easy recipe, however you will need time for the chicken to wallow in all those lovely flavours – 24 hours if possible. It's worth it though, for a succulent, tasty chicken that is so easy to portion up.
The recipe below is how I like it – with the heat somewhere between 10,000 – 20,000 Scovilles so I can still taste the other flavours in the dish. The beauty of this marinade is that you can tweak the ingredients to how you like it. Use African Bird’s Eye Chillies to ramp it up to 100,000+ Scovilles if you like it hot.

For 1 spicy chicken, feeding about 4 people, you will need...
... a food processor
Piri Piri Marinade
100mls extra virgin olive oil
30mls cider vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 red chillies, stalks removed, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed to a powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
the juice and finely grated zest of half a lemon
the juice of half a lime 

1 chicken weighing approximately 1.5kg, spatchcocked* 

Time – at least 12 hours, but preferably 24 hours. 

Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processer and blend until combined into a smooth liquid.

Place the spatchcocked chicken in a large Ziploc-style bag or non-metal container and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight, turning occasionally to make sure the marinade gets a chance to reach all parts of the chicken.
Pale and interesting? Nah!

 When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Place the chicken in a shallow roasting tin and roast for 35 - 45 minutes, or until cooked through. To test for doneness, pierce the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear, with no trace of pink, then it’s cooked.
Looking so much better with a tan !

I’m serving this with a carrot and orange salad and baked potatoes.

*A spatchcocked chicken is prepared as follows: 

Sit the chicken on its breast and, using a heavy duty kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone, and remove it. Open the chicken out and, using a heavy knife, cut into the cartilage in the centre of the chicken, until the knife reaches the breastbone. Turn the chicken over and gently press down to flatten it out.
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