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Recipe Collection

Piri Piri Chicken

Safia Shakarchi — 2022

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.

Serves: 4

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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Preheat the oven to to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7.

  5. 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. 

  6. 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. 

— about the author

Born and raised in Lisbon, Nuno Mendes combines his first-hand experience from his family’s farm in the Alentejo with unique ingredients and innovative techniques garnered during his travels to creative immersive dining experiences, both in London and Lisbon. He has firmly made his mark on both cities food scenes, and most recently, in March 2022, Nuno opened his latest restaurant project Lisboeta on  London’s Charlotte Street.


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  1. Sara Ghannam says:

    Made this dish yesterday the chicken was moist and the Piri piri paste was amazing. I’ve never spatchcocked a chicken, instructions are easy to follow. Can’t wait to make it again :))


— the pantry post.

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