Piri Piri Chicken
Piri Piri Chicken (also known as peri peri) is a versatile African and Portuguese entrée, and one bite by our intrepid taste tester led to the proclamation that this “is the perfect dish in every way.”
The perfection starts with the prominent but not overwhelming heat from the piri piri seasoning and jalapeño and the bright pop from the lemon juice. Basil, garlic and green onion add to the big, bold flavor, making every bite feel like a celebration. The grilled chicken has just the right amount of char on the outside, which complements the spice — while the inside of the chicken stays tender and juicy.
Indeed, this whole dish can be talked about in terms of delicious opposites: it fills you up without weighing you down. It feels fresh, bright and springy, yet it would be right at home as a warm meal on a cold day. It’s filled with both verve and dependability. It’s a great option for weeknight dinners and dinner parties — there’s no table on which this dish would be unwelcome.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 bunch green onions, sliced, green and white parts separated
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 leaves basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 ½ tablespoons L&B Piri Piri Seasoning, divided (or use 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon cayenne)
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 lemon, halved and juiced
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs or combo
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Make your piri piri sauce by combining white parts of the green onions, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper, 1 tablespoon L&B Piri Piri Seasoning, jalapeño and olive oil in a food processor or blender and process to a coarse-sauce consistency (think tartar sauce). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour lemon juice over the chicken, season with ½ teaspoon of L&B Piri Piri Seasoning, sea salt and white pepper. Generously coat the chicken with piri piri sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up to overnight.
- Cook the chicken on a 400 F grill, having first applied a thin coating of oil or non-stick spray to the grates. Space the chicken pieces on the grill so they are not touching each other and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the pieces ¼ turn to create classic grill marks and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and repeat the process, cooking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. (This recipe for Piri Piri Chicken is best when grilled, but it can also be baked or pan-seared with great results.)
FoodE Expert Note: Piri Piri Chicken is traditionally made in Africa and Portugal and served with rice or very simple salads of lettuce, tomato and red onion. We love it with couscous, quinoa and in whole grain wraps.
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