peri-peri chicken

March 5, 2020
Family Verdict:


  • 1 chicken
  • (about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz)
  • 4 red chillies, chopped (deseeded if you don't like it too spicy)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  1. To spatchcock the chicken, flip it over so the backbone is facing you. Using a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors or poultry scissors, cut down either side of the backbone, then discard. Turn the chicken over and push down firmly on the breastbone to flatten out the bird. Make a few slashes in each leg joint.
  2. Put the chillies and garlic in a food processor with a good pinch of salt, or use a pestle and mortar. Blend to a paste, then add the paprika, vinegar, parsley and olive oil. Mix well, then smear over the chicken. Leave to marinate for at least 1 hr or overnight if possible. Can be frozen at this stage.
  3. Fire up the barbecue. When the flames have died down, place the chicken on the centre of the barbecue, skin-side down, and cook for 15-20 mins until nicely charred. Flip the chicken over and continue cooking for another 5-15 mins until cooked through. Check that the juices run clear, as the heat of every barbecue will vary. To cook in the oven, heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook for 35-40 mins on a baking tray. To char the skin, grill for a further 5-10 mins. NOTE: I cooked in the oven and found these times were a significant underestimate of the cooking time needed - my chicken was still pink, and totel cooking time in the oven was closer to an hour
  4. Serve with lemon wedges, and Tabasco if you like it hot.


Well I finally broke my Nando's duck on the Youngest's birthday. It wasn't deliberate, but for some reason GBK (her preference) was heaving and not wanting to wait 20 mins to be seated for a burger, we wandered on. Further down the street was Nando's, which was also heaving but could seat us. So in we went and on we went. I had the medium spicy and enjoyed it, when it eventually arrived. It is a good formula, cheap chicken slathered in spicy sauce and barbecued is a winning offer.

So a couple of weeks later I wondered if I could replicate it at home. I bought a cheap chicken and on we went. Turns out that you can make a very passable peri-peri chicken yourself at home, with little hassle and tasty results. As it was still winter, I cooked this in the oven and grilled it to burn the skin later. It was very satisfactory - although I found the cooking time in the recipe shown here was a real underestimate of how long it actually needed. My chicken was still pink after 35 minutes, and I ended up cooking it for close to an hour before it was cooked through. So please apply common sense.

I think in the summer on a BBQ with some salad this will make a very acceptable meal, as it did in winter with sweet potato fries and coleslaw

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