A few years ago we went on holiday in Portugal and the country introduced us to the awesome flavour of piri piri chicken. Since then we’ve subsisted on bottles of Nando’s marinade. Which is tasty enough but it’s not the same flavour I tasted over there.
This year’s chilli harvest has been a bit neglected and we now have a massive glut of slightly dried out, fiery red bird’s-eye chillies and some big green jalapenos. I thought of the perfect dish to use some of them up! Old trusty google brought up a few results; the tastiest looking was Jamie Oliver’s from his 30 minute meals series. Especially good for an evening when we also had an appointment with a potential wedding venue so time was tight.
Before adding the chillies to the rest of the sauce ingredients I cut a small piece of each one to taste. It took about twenty minutes for the feeling to return to my lips – surely a good sign! As soon as the final dish went in the oven the smell was incredible and took me straight back to Portugal. I’ve no idea how authentic the recipe is but it’s certainly a lot closer to what you’ll eat on holiday than Nando’s. Despite the 3 chillies I put in and the numbing effect my little taste had, the heat was entirely bearable. The odd mouthful really grabbed your attention but it was nowhere near as harsh or painful to eat as some hot sauces.
The recipe itself couldn’t be easier. Grill the chicken, whizz up all the sauce ingredients then stick it all in a roasting tin. Just make sure you actually turn the grill on instead of spending 5 minutes wondering why your chicken isn’t cooking like I did!
3 chillies (I used 1 red bird’s-eye, 1 green and 1 jalapeno)
2 cloves garlic
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tblsp paprika
4 chicken thighs or legs with skin
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Make some light slashes in the chicken and drizzle the olive oil over it then rub in some salt and pepper.
Grill the chicken until the skin is golden brown.
De-stalk the chillies, skin the garlic and roughly chop the onion.
Place the chillies, garlic, onion, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and paprika into a food processor then add the zest from the lemon and the juice from half of it.
Whizz it all up with a splash of water and some salt and pepper until it forms a paste.
Pour the sauce into a small roasting tin and place the chicken on top.
Roll the chicken pieces in the sauce to coat them then place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.