Homemade Piri Piri Chicken
I am such a slacker!!! Sorry folks, it just seems that leisure days are more difficult to manage than when I was working. Time between blog posts have been too far apart, and I apologise. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking…don’t worry, the hubs is well fed and watered. Procrastination and telly time have simply taken over my life for a bit. I’m back now so let’s move things along.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes. Right next to me is one of his latest cookbook – Jamie’s 30 minute meals. I enjoy watching the series and marvel at how easy and quickly he whips up those 30 minute meals. What they do not show on TV is the crew of people he has in the background prepping and cleaning after him…which makes the 30 minute meal into realistically a 45 to 60 minute meal. However there is no doubt he’s planned the dishes well and they are indeed easy to cook and absolutely delicious.
I bookmarked one of Jamie’s 30 minute meal dishes – Piri piri chicken – and was really keen to try and make my own piri piri sauce. Piri piri is actually a small, spicy member of the chilli pepper/capsicum family which some refer to as the African bird’s eye chilli. My very first experience of Piri piri is from the famous Portuguese style grilled chicken dish – juicy, spicy barbequed chicken that is constantly basted in the spicy piri piri sauce. Nando’s is a famous restaurant chain that serves up this chicken dish with your choice of mild, medium or hot sauce. I like mine hot. Mmmm…
Compared to the bottled sauces which is very much a generic tangy and spicy sauce, this homemade rustic version tasted of fresh ingredients like chillies, herbs and smoky paprika. I liked it a lot and would recommend your own tweaking to suit your tastes. I would add a little more vinegar or lemon juice and less of the paprika next time because my sour taste buds were craving for more tang. But that’s just me – I used to love those super sour candies called super lemon, where the best part of eating it was to see all your friends’ faces cringe from the sourness and I also enjoy eating the actual lemon slices that serves as a garnish in iced teas. So unless you’re like me, I’d say stick to the recipe and you’ll be right.
One word of warning if you do try this recipe – beware of the chilli and vinegar fumes if you decided to sniff in the perfume of freshly processed chilli sauce. I did that straight after blending the sauce and popping the cover of the liquidizer (food processor). Oooh boy…stay at least two nose lengths away from the processor. Trust me.
PIRI PIRI CHICKEN
Adapted from Jamie’s 30 minute meals
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1-2 bird’s eye chillies
2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
large bunch of basil
4 large chicken thighs, skin on bone in
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 baby potatoes, halved, unpeeled and parboiled for 6 minutes*
Pre heat oven to 200 deg C.
Peel and roughly chop red onion and add to the liquidizer with 4 peeled cloves of garlic. Add the chillies (stalks removed), paprika, zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 lemon. Add white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, a good pinch of salt and pepper, the bunch of basil and swig of water. Blitz until smooth.
Slash flesh side of the chicken thighs a few times, drizzle with olive oil and season. Brown chicken in a hot pan ( i used an ovenproof casserole pan) till golden on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
Slice the peppers into strips and add to the pan, char peppers for about five minutes. Set aside. Brown parboiled potatoes for another five minutes in the pan. Pour the piri piri sauce into the pan with the potatoes, then return chicken pieces and peppers to the sauce and scatter the sprigs of thyme on top.
Place pan into the oven and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve straight from the oven with a side of salad and rice or crusty bread.
* Jamie’s original recipe did not have potatoes.