This Portuguese Chicken recipe, also known as Peri Peri Chicken, is one of those dishes that makes winter a little more bearable. It’s hearty and satisfying and warms the soul with its deep, smoky flavors. The prep time is relatively short and the oven does much of the work. During the cold months, I try to utilize the oven as much as possible.
What is Peri Peri Chicken?
Traditional Portuguese Chicken is called Peri Peri Chicken (or sometimes Piri Piri Chicken) and made with Piri Piri peppers which actually originated in South Africa, and were imported to Portugal from two Portuguese colonies, Angola and Mozambique, on spice ships. Today, the peppers are used widely throughout Portugal to make marinades, basting liquids, condiments and hot sauces.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as a simple roast chicken, just pulled from the oven, aromas wafting through house, infusing heart and home with warmth and comfort. Winter has arrived, dropping snow on the fallen leaves. It seemed to happen so quickly this year, the changing of the seasons. My initial reaction, truthfully, is resistance to the abrupt ending of fall and the beginning of the long winter to come. And yet, I’m lured into acceptance by little things – the sound of the crackling fire, the snowflakes, the stack of books waiting to be read, and warm comforting meals.
Peri Peri Chicken | 60-sec video
Peri Peri Chicken Ingredient Notes
- Chilies: Unfortunately, peri peri peppers aren’t easily available here, or if they are, I haven’t found them, so for this recipe, I substituted less spicy Ancho Chilies. This is a one-star dish, as far as heat goes. So if you like heat, you may want to add more. The Ancho Chilies also add a nice depth to the marinade.
- Peri Peri Marinade: Smoked paprika, dried ancho chilies and fresh garlic are at the base of this flavorful marinade. This is a “manly” dish, meaning, in general, men tend to gravitate towards these deep, smoky flavors. It looks spicy, but don’t be deceived – this version is not over-the-top spicy, and I’d only call it a “one-star” on the spiciness scale. It really lets the other flavors come through.Chicken: I always try to find organic, pasture-raised chickens, which to me have the best flavor and texture. Use the best quality chicken you can. If you are short on time, use chicken pieces, to save a step.
How to make Peri Peri Chicken
STEp 1: Spatchcock the chicken
Place the whole chicken, breast-side down on a cutting board.
Using sharp kitchen shears, remove the spine, cutting on each side of the spine.
Open the chicken wide and turn it over so the breast side now faces up.
Press down firmly on the breastbone of the chicken to flatten. You may hear some cracking which can be disconcerting the first time. Just press down as hard as you can. And that’s it- you’ve spatchcocked a chicken!
Step 2: Make the Peri-Peri Marinade
In a blender or food processor, blend the marinade ingredients into a thick paste. Brush the marinade all over both sides of the chicken, saving the rest for basting while in the oven.
STEP 3: Assemble the Peri peri Chicken
If making the crispy potatoes that go with this, (which I highly suggest) brush marinade on the bottom of your sheet pan. Sweet potatoes would also work well.
TIP: Do not use a 9×13 inch baking dish– use a large, rimmed, metal sheet pan for best results. This enamel pan is deceiving, it is very large ( 16×22).
Layer thinly sliced potatoes, overlapping only slightly, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken, skin side down, tucking the wings under, over top of the potatoes. You could do all of the 1 day ahead and refrigerate (letting it come to room temp before baking.)
Step 4: Bake the Peri Peri Chicken!
Place on the middle rack of a 425F pre-heated oven. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken over and roast for another 15 minutes, basting with more marinade after flipping. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, and the leg reaches 165F. Depending on the size of the chicken, this could be 20-50 more minutes.
Then give a good broil in the oven so skin gets crispy and slightly charred in places. This is important!
The flavorful juices from the Peri-Peri Chicken and marinade will seep into the potatoes which will have softened and also become crispy a nice contrast. Place it in the oven.
Step 5: Make the Green Sauce
While the peri peri chicken bakes make the flavorful green sauce. Cilantro and yogurt are combined to make a delicious cooling sauce- a delicious accompaniment to the smoky chicken.
What to serve with Peri Peri Chicken?
How to store Peri Peri Chicken
Leftovers can be stored up to 4 days in the fridge, in an airtight container, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
I hope you enjoy this delicious Peri Peri Chicken! Leave your comments, adaptions, and rating below. Always appreciated!
Cheers and love,
More recipes you’ll love!
- How to Spatchcock a Chicken
- Chicken Tagine
- Cuban Mojo Chicken
- Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada)
- Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)
- Portuguese Prawns and Cauliflower & Grits
- How to Roast a Whole Chicken!
- Harissa Chicken (or Tofu) with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Lebanese Chicken with 7-Spice
This Peri Peri Chicken recipe results in crispy, smoky chicken that is tender and juicy, with the most flavorful peri peri marinade! Bake it over potatoes and serve with the Green Sauce!
- 1 small Whole Chicken (3–4 lbs) or sub chicken pieces ( see notes)
- 1 1/2 lbs potatoes (Yukon or reds), thinly sliced ( 1/4 inch thick)
- 2 Dried Ancho Chilies-rehydrated
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice.
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Rehydrate dried chilies in a small pot of simmering water on the stove for 20 minutes. Remove stem and seeds.
- Butterfly the chicken: Rinse inside and out, removing innards. Pat dry. Place on a cutting board, breast down. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the spine, remove and discard. Turn the chicken over, and placing your hand on the breast bone, press down hard with the palm of your hand, to flatten.
- Make the marinade by blending the marinade ingredients into a paste with a blender or food processor. Brush a layer of the marinade on the bottom of your large sheet pan.
- Place the thinly sliced potatoes on top of the marinade and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt, overlapping slightly but not too much.
- Brush all sides and crevasses of the chicken with the marinade, coating fairly heavily. (You will add more marinade during cooking, so be sure to save the remaining.) Place chicken, skin side down on the potatoes and place in the hot oven.
- Turn chicken over after 15 minutes, and place back in the oven. After 15 minutes, brush more marinade all over the chicken on the skin side, really lathering it up. Return to the oven and bake until cooked through another 15-30 minutes, or until leg/ thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. The bigger the chicken, the longer this will take. ( A large, 5-6 pound chicken may take an additional 20 minutes!) To crisp the skin and get it deeply brown, broil for a few minutes. A little char is good here!!! Remove chicken when done and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. You can continue to cook the potatoes or crisp them up ( with broiler) while resting the chicken and cutting it into pieces.
- While chicken is roasting, combine Cilantro Sauce ingredients together, either in a bowl- mixing by hand, or in a food processor. Serve cilantro sauce on the side.
For a healthier version, use skinless boneless chicken thighs, or breast. Feel free to marinate overnight in a zip lock bag. Cooking time will shorten significantly, so you may have to remove chicken and let potatoes continue cooking to get them crispy.
For WHOLE CHICKENS! The baking time for the chicken will vary depending on the size (weight) of the chicken. This one in the photos was a small 3.5 pound chicken. Larger 5-6 lb chickens will take longer in the oven ( 70-90 minutes). So plan accordingly.
***Use a large rimmed metal sheet pan, rather than a glass baking dish so air can circulate and potatoes can get crispy! (This enamel baking dish in the photos is much larger than it looks! )
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 485
- Sugar: 2.2 g
- Sodium: 1295.2 mg
- Fat: 15.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.2 g
- Fiber: 4.6 g
- Protein: 54.3 g
- Cholesterol: 165.5 mg
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