Peri Peri Chicken
The story I heard is that the Portuguese first created peri peri chicken in Mozambique, and it later became a South African staple. The name “peri-peri” is derived from Swahili. ‘Piri-piri’ means “pepper-pepper.” You can make peri peri sauce as described below and use it on any number of dishes – grilled shrimp, rotisserie chicken, pork chops, etc. You can also make it as hot as you’d like, just add more chilis to the mix.
First, butterfly the chicken. Season it with salt and ½ of the paprika.
The Marinade/Sauce – Roughly chop the shallots, garlic, chili, thyme, and roasted pepper. Place them and the oregano, the remaining paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until it’s a smooth consistency. You should have about 2 cups.
Place the chicken and ½ of the marinade in a plastic bag and coat well. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
Scrape away some of the thicker marinade and place it in a pot with the unused marinade.
Get 2 heavy pans – one to cook the chicken in and the other to weigh it down. Cover the bottom of the weight pan in foil. Place the weight pan in the over at 400o for 10 minutes. Heat the cooking pan on a medium high stove burner and pace the chicken in it skin side down. Put the pr-heated weight pan on top of it and press it down using a potholder or a towel. The chicken is now starting to cook from below and above.
Turn the heat to low and check after 5 minutes. The skin side should be dark but not black.
After about another 10 – 12 minutes place the cooking pan with the weight in the 400o oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the weight and turn the chicken skin side up and baste with the pan drippings. Continue cooking, skin side up for 15 – 20 minutes, basting once more.
Add the pan drippings and 2 pats of butter to the marinade. Heat and stir for a few minutes. Brush some on the chicken and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp the skin.
Remove from the oven and let it rest 20 minutes. Serve with the sauce on the side.
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