I have always been a huge fan of Donna Hay. Her food is so always so appealing. As a food blogger, I can confess to just spending some time browsing through her website or magazine to soak up the visual inspiration. Her style and styling is beautiful. I realized recently though, that I don’t make many of Donna’s dishes. I’m not really sure why that is. It’s not like I’m never in the kitchen. I vowed to change that and began with this Piri Piri chicken.
A delicious and easy piri piri chicken recipe, with potatoes and a green chilli dressing.
Piri Piri (or sometimes Peri Peri) chicken is a Portuguese dish, named after the piri piri pepper that is popular there. Piri Piri is usually some combination of paprika, vinegar, garlic and hot red pepper, that is basted on to chicken while it roasts or grills. I started with a whole chicken and butterflied it myself. Every time I do it, I wonder why. Honestly, do yourself a favour and buy a chicken that’s already butterflied. It’s not that it’s that hard. It’s just a somewhat unappealing process (or maybe it’s just me ;)
So assuming you’ve got yourself a pre-butterflied chicken (or you’ve man-handled a whole one), simply whip up the Piri Piri marinade in the food processor (or blender) and you’re good to go. Pop it on to a baking sheet and let it roast away for 35-45 minutes. I used the skewers, as directed, for easy turning, but honestly, they aren’t necessary.
Now let’s talk about the potatoes. The recipe directed to place them on the baking sheet with the chicken. Hmmmm. Hope my family will be happy having 3 slices of potatoes each, because that’s all that will fit alongside the chicken. I thought about putting them under the chicken, but worried about all the fat from the chicken. I decided to go with Plan B. I cooked the chicken on one baking sheet and the potatoes on another, a rack lower. Worked well, except when they were done, I decided tossing them on the sheet with the chicken juices wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.
I sliced my potatoes too thin and had to take them out before the chicken was done. Be warned that even a thicker slice may be done before the chicken, so watch closely. They were admittedly really nice alongside the roasted chicken and they were great with the dip. A simple salad would be nice as well, if you’d rather not fuss with the potatoes.
The suggested dip of cilantro, green chili pepper and mayonnaise was lovely with both the chicken and the potatoes. It was easy to prepare and made a lot, which was great, because the left-overs were nice as a vegetable dip later. I’d recommend it, if you have the time and ingredients on hand (you could easily replace the mayonnaise with plain yogurt). I replaced the cilantro with parsley, since I’m one of those cilantro-hater-types and used jalapenos, since that’s what I had around.
All in all, I loved this dish. Simple enough for weeknights and looking ahead to grilling season, will definitely take the Piri Piri sauce to the BBQ.
- 1 whole chicken, butterflied
- Piri Piri Marinade:
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried chilli flakes (crushed red chillis)
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. waxy potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Green Chilli Dressing:
- 2 long green chillies (or jalapenos, roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Butterfly (*how to below) your chicken and if desired (for easy turning), thread two skewers through from side to side. Slice potatoes and toss in a large bowl with the oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Prepare two baking sheets (line the one for chicken with foil if you like, for easy clean-up). For the baking sheet for the potatoes, spray lightly with cooking spray and spread potatoes evenly over baking sheet.
- Combine the Piri Piri marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425° F. with racks in the centre and one lower. Rub remaining marinade on to the top of the chicken. Place your chicken onto a baking sheet, skin side down. Place chicken in to pre-heated oven on the middle rack. Place baking sheet with potatoes one rack position below it and roast both chicken and potatoes for 15 minutes, basting once with the reserved marinade. Turn chicken over (skin side up) and flip potatoes. Cook chicken another 20-30 minutes, basting a couple of times with the reserved marinade, until cooked (depending on the size of your chicken). Check potatoes regularly and remove when golden brown.
- While chicken and potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by combining all ingredients in food processor or blender and processing until well combined.
- How to butterfly a chicken: Place chicken on cutting board with breast side down and the drumsticks facing towards you. Using kitchen scissors and a sharp knife, cut down one side of the backbone, from one end to the other. Repeat on the other side. Remove and discard backbone. Flip chicken over and using the palm of your hand, press the chicken down to flatten slightly.
- Adapted from Donna Hay magazine, October 2013