Piri piri chicken is a wonderful family dish. Households in Lisbon have a lovely habit of going to their local shop to pick it up mid-week for an easy and tasty meal. Unfortunately, we don’t have many of these local piri piri shops here in the UK, so I’ve written this recipe for those seeking to satisfy this craving at home.
I must say that good quality ingredients, such as a beautiful free range chicken and a really high quality butter, are what transform this into a really special recipe. Enjoy with a light salad or homemade potato crisps.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Photography: Safia Shakarchi
Food Styling: Hattie Arnold
Season: Spring or Year-Round
1.6 kg whole chicken
2 bay leaves
40 g butter
1 tablespoon brandy
A large handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper
Piri piri paste
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 lemon, roughly diced
6 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt flakes and ground white pepper
First, spatchcock your chicken. To do this, cut along each side of the backbone with a knife or scissors. Carefully remove the bone, open the chicken out and flatten it down with the palm of your hand. See our step-by-step guide here.
Make diagonal slashes along each breast and season the skin generously with salt and pepper
Chill for 2 hours – an opportune time to make the piri piri paste for the chicken.
To make the piri piri paste, pound the garlic, chilli, lemon, olive oil, sea salt and white pepper in a pestle and mortar, or blitz with a small food processor. Rub the paste over the chicken skin and marinate in the fridge for another 2 hours, if time allows.
Preheat the oven to to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7.
Place the bay leaves into baking tray and place the chicken on top. Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until cooked through, basting regularly.
Once cooked, place the chicken onto a warm plate to rest for 15 minutes. Pour all the cooking juices from the baking tray into a pan, including the fat and warm the juices, adding butter and brandy. Simmer gently for 1-2 minutes, then from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Pour over the chicken when serving.