When you think of Portuguese cuisine, it’s almost impossible not to picture the fiery, flavorful, and utterly irresistible Piri Piri Chicken. This dish, with its roots deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of Portugal, has taken the world by storm, gracing the tables of food lovers across the globe. But what makes Piri Piri Chicken so special? And why is it the perfect choice for your next BBQ? Let’s dive into the delicious world of this Portuguese classic.
Piri Piri Chicken, or Frango Piri Piri, as it’s known in Portugal, is a dish that tells a story of exploration, cultural exchange, and love for good food. The term ‘Piri Piri’ translates to ‘pepper pepper’ in Swahili, a language spoken in regions of Southeast Africa. The name is a nod to the bird’s eye chili, a key ingredient in the dish, which was brought back to Portugal by explorers during the Age of Discovery. Over time, this fiery chili became a staple in Portuguese cooking, and nowhere is it more celebrated than in the Piri Piri Chicken.
The beauty of Piri Piri Chicken lies in its simplicity and versatility. At its core, it’s a dish that requires just a few ingredients: chicken, bird’s eye chilies, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Yet, the result is a symphony of flavors that is greater than the sum of its parts. The chicken is marinated in the piri piri sauce, absorbing all the fiery heat and robust flavors, then grilled to perfection, resulting in a dish that is juicy, spicy, and packed with flavor.
But why is Piri Piri Chicken perfect for your next BBQ? Well, there’s something about the combination of fiery piri piri sauce and the smoky, charred flavor from the grill that just works. It’s a match made in culinary heaven. Plus, it’s a dish that’s designed to be shared. Whether you’re hosting a small family gathering or a large backyard party, Piri Piri Chicken is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
So, are you ready to bring a taste of Portugal to your next BBQ? Let’s explore how to make your own Portuguese-Style Chicken Piri Piri. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!
For the Chicken:
- One whole chicken (1.5kg)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
For the Piri Piri Sauce:
- 5-10 bird’s eye chillies (depending on heat preference)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 100ml of olive oil
- 50ml of red wine vinegar
- Prepare the Chicken: Start by cleaning and drying the chicken. Season it generously with salt and pepper. For even cooking, spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone and flattening the chicken.
- Prepare the Piri Piri Sauce: De-seed and chop the bird’s eye chillies. Crush the garlic cloves. In a blender, combine the chillies, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Blend until you have a smooth sauce.
- Marinate the Chicken: Apply the Piri Piri sauce all over the chicken, making sure to get the sauce into all the nooks and crannies. Reserve some sauce for basting during cooking. Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour, but for best results, leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Cook the Chicken: Preheat your BBQ. Once it’s hot, place the chicken skin-side down on the grill. Cook for about 20 minutes, then flip the chicken and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken and the heat of your BBQ. During cooking, regularly baste the chicken with the remaining Piri Piri sauce to keep it moist and flavorful.
- Serve the Chicken: Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, making it even more succulent. Serve the Piri Piri Chicken with a side of salad and chips, and enjoy your Portuguese-style BBQ!
Remember, cooking should be fun and flexible, so feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste. If you like your food extra spicy, add more chillies to the Piri Piri sauce. If you prefer a milder flavor, use fewer chillies.
Beyond its delicious taste, Piri Piri Chicken is a dish that brings people together. It’s a dish that’s meant to be shared, savored, and enjoyed in good company. So, as you fire up your grill and prepare your Piri Piri Chicken, remember that you’re not just making a meal – you’re creating an experience. An experience that’s filled with laughter, conversation, and shared memories. An experience that, at its heart, is what Portuguese cuisine is all about.
So, go ahead and give this recipe a try. Bring a taste of Portugal to your backyard. Delight your guests with the fiery, robust flavors of Chicken Piri Piri. And as you gather around the grill, take a moment to appreciate the simple joy of sharing good food with good friends. Because at the end of the day, that’s what a BBQ – and indeed, cooking – is all about.
Happy grilling, and as they say in Portugal, “Bom apetite!”