Portugal is my favourite place in the world and I’ve spent many a happy day/night eating chicken peri-peri in restaurants, but never tried to make it myself. (If you want an insider tip, then head to Marufos in the Algarve – the restaurant looks nothing special but the chicken is the best in Portugal – my family has been going there for 30 years so we have some expertise in the area!)
Tonight I had a whole chicken to use up, and rather than just roast it, I decided to try to marinate it in peri-peri sauce first (mainly because I had a lot of the sauce left from last night’s Gambas Al Ajillo left over and I figured I could use that as a starting point). I’ll include the full recipe for the sauce in case anyone wants to make it from scratch, but all I did, was take the leftover sauce, add some extra oil, crushed garlic, paprika and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to it.
I took the chicken out of the fridge 30mins before starting to cook to ensure that it could come up to room temperature. This allows it to cook properly in the times specified. If you are starting with a chicken straight out of the fridge, it will need longer in the oven so you will need to adjust your cooking times accordingly – my chicken was 1.1kg.
Preheat the oven to 200C before starting the sauce, which was made by combining the oil, chopped chillis, chilli flakes, crushed garlic cloves, paprika and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. (You can add more or less chilli depending on how spicy you like it). Then, (making Dan do the messy bit), he rubbed the sauce all over the chicken making sure to get as much as possible under the skin to infuse the flavour while cooking. I sprinkled salt and pepper over the whole bird and put a lime into the chicken’s cavity to keep it moist while cooking and add some flavour. The chicken went into the oven for 40 mins, at which point I took it out and basted it with the juices and sauce. (It also wasn’t achieving the colour I wanted so I sprinkled an extra tsp of paprika over the whole thing – cheating a little). I put it back into the oven for another 40 mins.
While the chicken was in the oven I prepped the sides. I made butternut squash fries for myself and potato wedges for Dan by slicing up the various veggies, coating them in oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper and adding to the oven for the last 40mins of cooking time. I also made a tomato and onion salad which is what the Portuguese serve it with. I sliced tomatoes, red onion, green and yellow peppers and added black olives to it. I drizzled olive oil over the top and sprinkled it with dried oregano (another famous Portuguese touch – which really makes a difference to the flavour.
At the end of the cooking time I transferred the chicken to a board and checked it was fully cooked by piercing the thigh with a skewer and checking that the juices ran clear. I covered it with tin foil and allowed it to rest for 10mins before carving and serving. The peri-peri sauce made it look and smell fantastic whilst it was cooking and as it came out of the oven. The skin looked golden and crispy and really appetising.
I carved the chicken and plated up with the vegetables drizzling the cooking juices over the top.
Obviously it didn’t have the same chargrilled flavour that it does in Portugal but you could finish it on a BBQ after cooking to try and achieve this – or just eat it as it is, oven roasted and delicious!