Date: June 2019
Anyone who has been to Portugal will immediately conjure up memories of sardines grilled over hot coals and fingers getting messy eating hot delicious piri-piri chicken. With the summer on its way this is a great dish to eat al fresco teamed with salad and hot potatoes or crusty bread to wipe the plate. It can also be put on the bbq and is very easy.
1 small red pepper
50ml olive oil
4 red chillies
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano or chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice 1-2 lemons
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
6 free-range, skin-on, bone-in chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs attached)
Heat the oven 190°C/170°C fan/ gas 5. Halve and deseed the pepper, brush with a little of the oil, put in a tin and roast until soft (about 25 minutes). Peel the skin if it comes off easily; leave on if it doesn’t. Chop roughly, then crush in a pestle and mortar. Remove the pepper.
Deseed the chillies, chop finely and put in the mortar with the garlic, oregano and chilli flakes. Pound to a paste, then add the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, remaining oil and crushed pepper. Alternatively put the whole lot including the pepper in a food processor and whizz together.
Put the chicken into a broad shallow dish and pour on most of the marinade. Turn to coat, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight ideally), turning a couple of times. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
Heat the grill to high and arrange the chicken on the grill pan, skin-side up. Put the grill pan 10cm from the heat and grill for 12 minutes per side, reducing the heat to medium halfway through. Baste a few times with the juices or a little reserved marinade.
Move the chicken another 10cm from the heat and grill for 5 minutes on each side. It should be cooked through (make sure there are no traces of pink), sizzling and golden. This can go on the BBQ but chicken on the bone takes a little bit of cooking as it can look cooked from the outside but raw in the middle so just take care and cook slowly.
Serve immediately with a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad and fried potatoes or crusty bread.