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C.C. Hogan

Quick and Rough Piri-Piri Chicken

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How many you want to feed?

This is one of those recipes that can feed loads, if you have a big enough roasting pan. Just marinate the chicken and squeeze them in! Amazing party stuff.

If I am doing proper Piri-Piri then it involves charring over charcoal and finishing in an oven, or better still, roasting open in a wood fired oven.  But I don't have one of those and it is raining outside, so this recipe is an indoor version.

The two most important ingredients, other than the chicken, are chillies and vinegar. Ideally, use the tiny hot chillies, but I have been growing some nice hot ones in the garden which are bigger so I used those,  It is up to you how hot you want it. If you want it less hot, remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers.  I suppose I should tell you to wear rubber gloves, gasmask, asbestos suit that everyone else seems to mention, but I never do. Just don't stick your chillified fingers up your nose, in your eyes or anywhere else that will cause pain.

Get one chicken for four people and then spatchcock it.  To do this, use a very sharp boning knife or good poultry scissors. Turn the chicken breast side down and cut the backbone out.  Just cut along either side of it, but make sure you do not leave any loose sharp rib bones.  if you want to be very cautious, you can carefully cut the ribs out, but I don't bother.  Rustic, remember?

Now flatten out the chicken, inside downwards, then score the breast and legs deeply with the knife.


This is for one chicken.

  • 1-2 large shallots or half onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (fresh is nicer, but use more)
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds/powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 chopped chillies (preferably more*)
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Blitz that lot up in a blender till pureéd then pour over the chicken, getting it right into the deep cuts.  Now ideally, leave it to marinade for several hours. I didn't have time tonight, so I just went for it and it was fine, though the inside of the chicken meat was less flavoured than if I had had time.  So don't ignore this recipe just because you were short on time.

Preheat the oven to 200° celsius and put the marinated bird in an oven pan covered with foil (Oi, the chicken, not the girlfriend. How dare you think such a thing!).  Make sure the foil is tented up so that there is room for air movement otherwise it will poach.

Roast until cooked properly.  The time will depend on the chicken size, but 45 minutes to an hour max is a good guide. Check it regularly and make sure you baste it with any juices and oil that comes out. Do not overcook it - the chicken should be moist. Buying a digital cooking thermometer is a really great investment!

And that is it.  Serve with baked potatoes, good normandy butter, piles of sweetcorn (on the cob) and gallons of strong German Weißbier. For some reason, that wonderful wheat beer goes with this really well and getting drunk while eating Piri-Piri chicken in large quantities is heaven!

Remember, don't cook this for one - this is for sharing with sexy friends. 

*Note: the hotter you make the marinade, the more beer you will need to drink.  I have no problem with that scenario.



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