Elizabeth Poett's Chicken Piri Piri

Chicken Piri Piri

byElizabeth Poett
Total 1 hour and 55 minutes
Active 55 mins
Makes 6 servings
There is a large Portuguese community in our area, and this is how I first learned about chicken piri piri. I had this classic dish at a barbecue and fell in love with the combination of spice and acidity. I love to cook chicken, but sometimes it can feel plain. In this version of the dish, the lemon, vinegar, and spices bring so much flavor to the meat, and the use of red pepper flakes instead of the traditional piri-piri chiles makes it easy to put together. It’s a fun recipe to make on the grill, but it’s also simple to make in the oven if you’re feeling like a cozy meal at home, so I’ve given instructions for each method below.
TIP: Baste often to infuse the chicken with flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 chicken leg quarters, skin on (6 to 8 pounds)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half, if baking the chicken
    Directions
    1. Put the bell pepper and garlic in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, paprika, pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt and process until combined.
    2. Reserve 1/2 cup of marinade and set aside. Place the chicken skin-side up on a baking sheet and pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Use a basting brush to make sure each piece is completely coated with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Bring the chicken to room temperature before baking or grilling.
    3. To grill: Heat wood or charcoal in an outdoor grill until you have very hot coals.
    4. Place the chicken on the grill skin-side down and brush the top of the chicken with more sauce. Grill on medium-high heat or about 12 inches above hot coals. Baste frequently and generously with sauce. Turn the chicken when it turns golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Continue to baste. Once both sides of meat have grill marks, raise the grill or lower the flame until the heat is medium. Continue grilling and basting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165°F. The cooking process should take close to 45 minutes. Remove the chicken with tongs and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
    5. To bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    6. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken and place the halves on a baking sheet with the chicken. Baste with sauce and put in the oven to bake. Baste every 15 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165°F. The cooking process should take close to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.