Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken
The history of Piri Piri chicken can be traced back to Portugal and its former colonies, particularly Mozambique and Angola. Piri Piri, also known as Peri Peri, refers to a type of chili pepper that is widely used in African and Portuguese cuisines.The origin of Piri Piri chicken can be attributed to Portuguese explorers and traders who traveled to Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. During their voyages, they discovered the fiery chili pepper known as Piri Piri, which was indigenous to Mozambique and Angola.The Portuguese explorers were intrigued by the intense flavor and spiciness of the Piri Piri chili, and they began incorporating it into their cooking. Over time, they developed a marinade or sauce using Piri Piri chili peppers, along with other ingredients like garlic, lemon juice, and herbs.This marinade was then used to flavor chicken, particularly the traditional method of grilling or barbecuing. The spicy and tangy Piri Piri chicken became popular among the Portuguese communities in Africa, and it eventually made its way back to Portugal.In Portugal, Piri Piri chicken gained widespread popularity, especially in the southern region of Algarve. It became a staple in Portuguese cuisine, with variations of the recipe emerging over time. Piri Piri chicken is often served in restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls in Portugal, as well as in other parts of the world with Portuguese influence.Today, Piri Piri chicken is enjoyed globally and has become a favorite dish for those who appreciate spicy and flavorful grilled chicken. It has also inspired various adaptations and interpretations, with different regions and cultures adding their own twists to the recipe while keeping the essence of the Piri Piri marinade intact.Nowadays, many grocery stores sell the Piri Piri sauce in a bottle. Pickup a bottle and try a different version of your grilled chicken.Visit our “Lagos in Algarve: Portugal’s Breathtaking Southern Coastline" post – https://thecultureties.com/lagos-in-algarve
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (such as drumsticks or thighs)
Traditional Portuguese Piri Piri marinade
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 red chilies, finely chopped (adjust according to your spice preference) preferred piri piri or bird's-eye chili
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Traditional Portuguese Piri Piri sauce
- 10-12 Piri-Piri chili peppers (or substitute with other hot chili peppers like bird's eye or serrano)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp paprika optional, added for color and flavor
For the marinade
- In a bowl, mix together the minced garlic, chopped chilies, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper.
- You may want to use gloves for this step. Place the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring each piece is coated evenly. Massage the marinade into the chicken, making sure it gets under the skin as well. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight for best flavor).
For the sauce
- Begin by removing the stems from the chili peppers. You can deseed them for a milder sauce or leave the seeds for extra heat.
- Place the chili peppers and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. Pulse them a few times until finely chopped. Alternatively, you can finely chop them by hand.
- Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the chopped chili peppers and garlic to the saucepan.
- Stir in the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and paprika (if using). Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- Let the sauce simmer gently over low heat for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and the heat from the chili peppers to infuse into the oil.
- Remove the sauce from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the sauce to a glass jar or bottle, and store it in the refrigerator. The Piri Piri sauce will keep well for several weeks.
To cook the chicken
- Preheat your grill or oven to medium-high heat.
- If using a grill, oil the grates to prevent sticking. If using an oven, preheat it to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Reserve the remaining marinade for basting.
- Place the chicken on the grill or baking sheet and cook for about 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy and browned. If using an oven, you can broil the chicken for a few minutes at the end for extra crispiness.
- While cooking, baste the chicken with the reserved marinade every 5-10 minutes to enhance the flavor and keep it moist.
- Once the chicken is cooked through (reaches an internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C), remove it from the grill or oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Serve the Piri Piri chicken hot with your sauce and favorite sides, such as rice, roasted vegetables, french fries, or a fresh salad.
- Enjoy your homemade Piri Piri chicken!
- Adjust the spice level: Piri Piri chicken is known for its spicy kick. However, you can adjust the spice level according to your preference. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of chili or remove the seeds. Conversely, if you like it extra spicy, you can add more chili or use hotter varieties.
- Marinate for longer: While marinating the chicken for at least 1 hour is recommended, for maximum flavor, consider marinating it overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhances the taste.
- Use bone-in, skin-on chicken: Using bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces such as drumsticks or thighs adds extra flavor and helps to keep the chicken moist during cooking. The skin also becomes deliciously crispy when grilled or roasted.
- Basting for flavor: Regularly basting the chicken with the reserved marinade while cooking adds layers of flavor and helps to keep the chicken moist. Baste the chicken every 5-10 minutes, turning it to ensure even coverage.
- Cooking methods: You can cook Piri Piri chicken on a grill or in the oven. Grilling over medium-high heat provides a smoky flavor and charred texture. While baking at a high temperature (around 425°F or 220°C) in the oven results in tender and juicy chicken with crispy skin. Choose the method that suits your preference and equipment.
- Resting the chicken: After cooking, allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute and ensures a more tender and flavorful result.
- Serving suggestions: Piri Piri chicken pairs well with various side dishes. Consider serving it with rice, roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, or even alongside traditional Portuguese sides like grilled cornbread (broa) or crispy fries (batatas fritas).
- Remember to always follow proper food safety guidelines when handling raw chicken, such as using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked ingredients, and ensuring the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
- Calories: 175
- Protein: 2g
- Fat: 18g
- Carbohydrates: 4g
- Fiber: 1g
- Sugar: 0g