piri-piri-chicken Recipes

piri piri chicken

My favorite part of our trip to Portugal is that it was almost accidental. Like we have done almost every summer, in the spring we began looking for a house to rent on one fork or another of Long Island because it us. Frustrated by prices and lack of appealing inventory (“which kid should stay in the dark basement bedroom where we won’t hear their screams?” is definitely the conversation every parent wants to have before forking over more than a month’s rent for the honor) our friends confessed that they couldn’t stop thinking about going somewhere like Spain and Portugal, where we could rent a villa for significantly less money and, you know, go see another part of the world. I said yes. My husband said “but 8 hours on a plane with a baby!” and “she’s going to burst into flames on a beach!” (referring to me passing on my unfortunate pallor to our youngest) and then I starting getting all insufferably philosophical about how this is our life and we have two kids and we either learn how to take big vacations with them or we’re never going to see all the places we want to see in our lifetime … and then I said “you can totally blame me if this is terrible.” And somehow that did the trick. Let me know when you want me to write that marital advice book, okay?


what you'll use

We regret nothing and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the fact I didn’t make dinner once wasn’t part of the charm. We’d manage breakfast and lunch at home but found the restaurants to be very kid-friendly, almost all having an official or unofficial children’s menu.* Plus, there was a natural kindness and patience with children that is less the norm here — you know when you’re waiting for the check and everyone is tired and your kid is about to scream their head off on your shoulder and then they start giggling because a stranger behind you is making faces at them? That was every day.

blending
backbone removed/spatchcocked
marinading

This means we got to try much more of the local food, which, perhaps predictably, means we fell in love with piri piri chicken, a celebration of the pepper (also known as an African bird’s eye chili), grown all over southern Africa and Portugal, after which it is named, but blended into a punchy marinade that keeps the heat at bay. I couldn’t wait to try my hand at it when we got home except I quickly realized that no two people from Ghana to Goa seem to agree on what is in it. I saw ingredients from basil to ginger, tomatoes and sweet peppers, thyme and oregano, and then barebones recipes that were basically just chiles, garlic and bay leaves and depressing ones that called for a bottle of piri piri sauce. Where does a hungry cook begin?

total expert griller here, obvs
tomato salad, portuguese-style
roasted potato coins

I ended up distilling the recipes I found to the ingredients that were the most common and closest to the kicky-sour-herbed chicken I fell in love with, blending them into a paste that I fiddled with until I was happy. I figured it would take a few rounds to get it right but instead, we adored this mix so much that happily skipped pizza at the park with kids to eat it cold after they went to bed. I cannot promise you that this is the most authentic piri piri you’ll ever eat — I’m hardly an expert — but I know this is going to be my go-to: The ingredients are simple. The heat level is adjustable to taste. You can use a whole chicken or parts. You can grill or roast it. You can make it tonight.

piri piri chicken
piri piri chicken, butchered

* I know there are people who rail against them, but I would write a love letter to children’s menus if I could: nothing makes me happier than not having to buy a $23 entree for a kid who will eat 15% but might have eaten 33% if it had two fewer sauces/ingredients on the plate.

Previously

One year ago: Caponata
Two years ago: Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk
Three years ago: Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Four years ago: Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
Five years ago: Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint
Six years ago: Peach Shortbread and Grape Focaccia with Rosemary
Seven years ago: Corn Bread Salad and Chocolate Pudding Pie
Eight years ago: The Baked Brownie, Spiced Up
Nine years ago: Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Lemon Layer Cake and Tortilla De Patatas

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Nolita-Style Avocado Toast
1.5 Years Ago: Red Bean and Green Grain Taco Bowl and Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
2.5 Years Ago: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata and Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
3.5 Years Ago: My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
4.5 Years Ago: Multigrain Apple Crisps

Piri Piri Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 60 to 70 minutes
  • Print

I have no idea what’s on the menu at the (highly recommended should you find yourself in the Algarve) Teodósio O Rei Dos Frangos, we never even read it, but on every table there was a pile of grilled chicken, fried potatoes and a tomato onion salad and I never want piri piri chicken another way. Here’s how I made them at home:

For the tomato salad: Cut 2 to 3 large tomatoes into wedges, scattered some thin slices of white onion over and season the plate well with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and some parsley; let it sit for a bit to marinate before digging in.

For the potatoes: Peel if you wish about 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Toss with olive oil and salt and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet in one layer, roasting them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes on the first side and 10 minutes on the second, until golden all over.


  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 a large or 1 small shallot, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 piri piri, bird’s eye or other small red chili pepper, chopped, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked, regular is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Most of the finely grated zest and all of the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill grates
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3 1/2 pound chicken or 3 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts

In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, shallot, bell pepper, chili, 1/4 cup parsley, paprika, oregano, lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and blend until as smooth as possible.

To spatchcock (remove the backbone from) your chicken: Place on a cutting board and use kitchen shears to cut along each side of the backbone, removing it and saving it for a future post of soup. [Here’s the shortest video I could find demonstrating this.] Open the chicken like a book, flattening it out. Place in a large dish.

Pour about 1/3 marinade over inside of chicken, the flip and pour another 1/3 over the outside. Set aside the last 1/3 for serving. Let the chicken marinate for as long as you have to spare; 20 minutes at room temperature or a few hours (or even a day) in the fridge.

If using chicken pieces, marinate them as well in a big dish with 2/3 of the sauce.

Heat a grill over medium high. Oil the grill grates. Place spatchcocked chicken skin side down on grill, spoon on some marinade that landed in the pan, cook for about 15 minutes, until it is nicely charred underneath. Use large tongs to flip it, pour or spoon any extra marinade over the skin and cook for another 15 to 25 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into thicker parts of the bird reads 165°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces.

For chicken pieces, you’ll only need about 10 minutes per side, depending on size.

No grill? In the oven, I usually roast spatchcocked chickens at 450°F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into thicker parts of the bird reads 165°F. Chicken pieces are usually done in 30 to 35.

Garnish with extra herbs and serve with remaining sauce on the side.


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138 comments on piri piri chicken

  1. Elizabeth

    Looks delicious. I’m always looking for new ways to make chicken. My only complaint about kid’s menus is most of the time they’re horribly unhealthy but of the 15% that your kid will eat I guess it’s not so bad lol.

    1. deb

      Yes, I suppose the caveat is that my favorite childrens’ menus are modified grown-up menus, half portions, slightly simplified. It’s nice for them to get a chance to try what you eat. My favorite thing that landed on Jacob’s plate on vacation was a pork steak (!) with a fried egg on top and fries on the side. We were pushing average salads around our plate, so jealous of what they made for kids.

  2. Hugo Pinto

    As a portuguese reader of your blog for some time, i can’t stop feeling proud for the way we treat strangers, both with our manners and with our food.
    This chicken is almost like fast food here, you can find it anywhere and it’s always more or less the same, it’s cheap and you can ask it with or with without piri-piri.
    At home I have my own sauce, with nothing but that small chiles, two garlics and the necessary whisky to make a sauce.
    You should try it with home raising chicken, THAT is a major improvement.

      1. Hugo Pinto

        Not very strong ones, the idea is to make a hot sauce that all the family can eat, depending just on how much you put in.
        I have also made a simple one with olive oil, parsley, garlic and chiles… AND a small portion of whiskey.
        I make it by hand on a stone mortar.
        It stands for months on a jar, getting stronger with the seeds of the chilles on the bottom for those who like it strong and with olive oil on top to preserve.
        I have made several for christmas gifts for my friends.

          1. Hugo Pinto

            No, it does not. The trick is leaving a extra layer of olive oil on top of the sauce, so it protects the sauce from deteriorate. In fact it gets stronger and better with age. You can use this with any sauce with olive oil like pesto.

  3. Margarida

    Deb, next time you are thinking of Portugal try Azores islands instead. 4h flight from Boston, excellent food and nature. I will be here waiting to take you to eat Portuguese chicken and some deserts to will take you to infinity and beyond :)

    1. I’m dying to go there! My sister (who has traveled the world) recently returned from Azores (they stayed 3 weeks with friends who live there) and she fell in love. In fact, she and her husband loved it so much, they bought as little plot of land and will build a small house on it.

  4. I wonder if my husband just felt a wave of happiness wash over him unexpectedly, for no apparent reason — he talks constantly about a pili pili sauce a colleague used to bring around, and this sounds like a cousin to it. I’m jazzed about it, and I predict he will be too!

  5. I can’t wait to try this out.
    Re travel: I took my entire family (13 people, ages 2-76) to Italy some years ago. Insanity. But everybody’s happiest memory. If you ever want to try France, let me know and I will give you all the nice (yet cheap) restos and not-stupid things to do with kids. Our favorite restaurant has no kid’s menu, but will serve anything on the regular menu, in half portions, for half price, for the kid (and that makes it very reasonable because we are cheapskates who find the best restaurants that aren’t expensive). It isn’t written anywhere.
    Re kids on planes: they sleep. Or they watch movies. Granted, they are not good in lines. Mine did OK on annual trips to the U.S. (three flights, two layovers, long drive before, 24+ hours of travel total). It helped that our kid never got to watch TV and so was completely enthralled by the tiny screen on the plane. Actually, a three-year-old is easier than a surly teen.

        1. Jeanne

          I would love paris recommendations as well. I just went there this summer and was mad at myself for not researching dining options better. We were underwhelmed with the food (other than the bakery items) but I am sure there are great places that are more reasonably priced. Should I post my email address? Sorry, I am blog challenged!

  6. Courtney

    Will you write more about your trip to Portugal (especially what child-friendly restaurants you’d recommend)? We’re contemplating going with our son who is a few months younger than your daughter, but likely wouldn’t go until Thanksgiving. It looks so beautiful and amazing!

  7. Claire Maunsell

    So glad you have tried your hand at this! I absolute love this chicken and we eat it all the time. (Toronto is full of piri-piri chicken take out places…) My recipe, which is very similar to yours, comes from a slim Australian volume called “Australian Women’s Weekly: 50 Fast Chicken Filets”.
    It is always very fast to make, and delicious even if you don’t marinate very long! A true staple that transforms chicken….

  8. Mark

    For those using the oven method – I recommend broiling the chicken for the last 5 min or so of the cook time. Great way to get some grill-like char indoors. (Although you’d better open up some windows!)

  9. Jyl

    Deb, as someone who just recently moved back from living in Portugal, I cannot tell you how good it was to read your recap. I long for SO many things there, the richness of life, the simplicity and beauty of food and wine. Thanks for allowing me to revisit with you and remind me to try my hand (again and again) at Portuguese cuisine!

  10. Meleyna

    YES to the kids’ menu. That’s been a blog post in my head for um, years now. Maybe I should actually write that.

    I’ve already got a chicken parts dinner on the menu for this week (somehow that doesn’t sound very delicious?), but this is happening next week for sure.

  11. Lori

    Can I make this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts? My daughters do not like chicken on the bone….And, not sure if I can get that type of pepper here…other pepper suggestions? This looks delicious!!!

    1. sparkgrrl658

      fwiw, my partner doesn’t really like any sort of meat on the bone (with the exception of buffalo wings) and tends to destroy it with a knife and fork…not in a good way, lol! so what i do, with chicken breasts especially is to cook it on the bone and then slice it off before i serve it. you end up with the same cut of meat but it costs less and won’t easily overcook in the oven.

      if you really want to use bscb, i would do them sliced in half (“butterflied”) and in a screaming hot pan on the stovetop instead of in the oven. this is how i do jerk chicken :)

  12. Rebekah Trevithick

    This looks really good. I once lived with a family whose father was Portuguese and we had the chicken almost every night. I do remember her using pimentos in the marinade.

  13. Yolanda

    I’m with you on the kids menu! I also wish restaurants would get a little more creative with their kids menu, healthier options would be great, why does it always have to be chicken strips, mac and cheese and pasta with butter??

  14. Charlotte in Toronto

    Thank you for posting this. A piri piri chicken joint just opened 5 min walk from my house and I’ve been spending a lot of time there. I’ll be making this Friday night. Thank you for taking the time to squeeze in this recipe in the few days between your exhausting vacation jet lag and the first day of school. Anna is beautiful and the color of that dress is perfect for her.

  15. Sam

    I’ve been obsessed with peri peri anything since returning from a month in South Africa where Portugal/Mozambique/Cape Town flavors come together in Peri Peri chicken and prawns. If you like chicken livers — try the sauce on them too!

  16. Pam M

    I was just looking at a piri piri chicken recipe on another site less than two hours ago! They didn’t include a recipe for the piri piri so I skipped it. What serendipity to find this post!
    On a side note, I pulled some harissa that I had made from your recipe out of the freezer the other day and everyone at the table was mightily impressed.

  17. What a coincidence – we’re only just back from our holiday in Algarve. (And now, having read this post, I want to go back). We ate a lot of piri piri chicken too – some very good, some not so good. I guess we’re a little bit spoilt here in the UK with the Portuguese food chain Nando’s serving up very good piri piri chicken. They also have a few branches in the US – I would recommend them highly if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of one. I’m not one to use bottled marinades/sauces for anything but I always keep Nando’s marinades at hand, should the urge to eat piri piri chicken strike at an inconvenient hour, like, say, 3:14 am. For other, less urgent call for piri piri chicken(& to use up the piri piri chillies I got home), I’m going to try this – thank you for sharing as always.

    1. I take back what I said about Nando’s readymade sauces. After having waxed lyrical over here about them and drooling over the potatoes, I decided to make some piri piri chicken a la Nando’s. But they have changed the formula now! Why mess with perfection, I ask you? The hot one used to be hot and tangy, just like any self-respecting piri piri sauce ought to be, but now there’s a definite sweetness that I just can’t get over. And I haven’t even begun to forgive them for discontinuing my absolute favourite sun-dried tomato sauce. I fervently hope that these changes won’t be reflected in the restaurant – the last time I ate there a couple of weeks ago, the chicken was just as delicious as ever.

  18. ivy

    Hello, could you tell me what cities you visited in Portugal? My husband and I are planning to take my 3 year old to Portugal next year and we’re trying to map out an itinerary (flying into Lisbon and perhaps visiting one or two other places). I’d really appreciate it!!!

    1. Laureen

      Hi Ivy,

      I don’t have children but my friend and I just visited Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. It was cheap, beautiful, and very safe – unlike many parts of Europe these days. Their rail system is also very advanced, as that was our mode of transport between places.

    2. deb

      We went to Lisbon for 2 days then down to the Algarve (we stayed in Loulé) for 6 days and then up to Sintra for 1, and stayed back in Lisbon for the last night. I haven’t written up the trip because we didn’t do a lot of sightseeing or foodie-ing, just went with the flow. Had a many good meals but nothing I’d insist anyone else run out for (well, except that chicken) — it just wasn’t that kind of trip. We had 5 young kids between 2 families and had a great time but I save the heavy sightseeing and seeking out the best of everything for kid-free trips right now.

  19. Katie C.

    Headbands! Either the hard ones or the stretchy fabric ones might work – I couldn’t leave a message on the picture.

    Looking at this food has made me hungry! It’s almost time to make supper. Leftover herb chicken with salad and Farro.

  20. Looks amazing! We also just returned from Portugal, and I think we may have been there almost the exact same dates! I definitely fell in love with the whole country! So beautiful and friendly!! I have been dreaming of the Pasteis de Nata we had in Lisbon, any chance of you tackling a recipe for those?!?! I’m dying for them (or just to go back…) Thanks!!

      1. Elida

        I have a very old recipe for pasties de nata in portuguese which I can send you once I translate it into english if you wish. I have made them and they are delicious!

  21. Lisa

    Just today I saw a recipe for piri piri chicken online and of course it called for piri piri sauce so I said a few cranky things and closed my browser. I was so pleased when I stopped by here and found a recipe right at the top of the page. I look forward to giving this a try. Thanks!

  22. Erica

    I returned from Portugal/the algarve on Monday and have been day dreaming about the piri piri chicken we had. Cannot wait to try this!! So much amazing food there, hope you post more inspired recipes.

    1. deb

      We did an AirBnB. It was two families together, so we had the luxury to seek out a very large place with a pool. Shoot me an email (deb@smittenktichen.com) if you’d like the link.

      1. Linda Kemp

        Deb, I would love to have the link to the large house with a pool. I have four granddaughters and would like to take us all to Portugal or Spain for spring break. Love all your posts!!

  23. Hello, Deb!
    My name is Noêmia, I am reader of his website for a long time. I’m Brazilian, my husband is Portuguese, and I live in Portugal for 14 years. I’m glad you liked to spend their holidays here. Is always welcome and feel at home, as I always felt.
    I really enjoyed your chicken!
    (Written with the use of an online translator)

  24. Greetings,
    Love your blog!
    Any chance you would make your actual recipes more print-friendly with just the actual recipe including a small photo? I try cutting, pasting and often get frustrated and move on unfortunately..
    thanks for the consideration!
    LD

    1. Angela

      Hi Linda, if you look just under the end of the recipe there is a small dotted line. Just under that line you’ll see the words “Do More” with five symbols after. The fourth symbol is a picture of a printer. Click on that one and a printable version of the recipe will pop up! Good luck!

  25. Eve

    Meta comment: I have always concluded that raw chicken was definitely off-limits for photography because it consistently looks gross– but you managed to pull it off! Impressive. :)

    Also, I know this is a post about chicken, but those potatoes look INCREDIBLE. I looked at the instructions and thought, “but that’s the same way I make potatoes!”– but there’s a tiny difference– 30 minutes on the first side, 10 minutes on the second. I flip mine halfway through. Will try it your way and see if that makes a difference to their perfection! Also, yours are a bit thinner. I want some right now.

    1. Jill

      I thought the same thing! “Dang, that chicken looks good but those POTATOES!!!” So pleased Deb put the details for how to cook those as well. And I’m like you – I flip ’em at half time. I’ve been using foil, which seems to stick even when copious amounts of oil get involved – will try parchment next time. Deb, you’re the best!

      1. deb

        This was actually my first time ever roasting on parchment. The color and crisp is not as exciting, but I have such a soft spot for this shape, which is like a thick potato chip, and I had it many times in Portugal, I wanted to make it easy. With parchment, there’s no sticking, of course. Directly on a metal tray, how I usually do it, you’ll want to put a lot more oil right on the tray and you cannot flip them until they have a crust underneath or they will tear. Better crisp, though.

        1. Jessica

          I just made these, and I started them on parchment and then removed the parchment once I was fairly sure they weren’t going to stick. That crisped them up more, with no sticking! I cannot abide a soft potato. (I almost used the french fry method from the cookbook but didn’t feel like using an extra pot. But that is my go-to for all shapes of oven potatoes now.)

    2. deb

      Never halfway! I am a roasting maniac (years of making sweet potatoes for kids) and I would say that 90% of vegetables require the 30/10 split. I can, and have, done it in my sleep. The only vegetables that need more of a 20/10-15 are carrots, broccoli and cauliflower (often a little quicker). OMG, should I do a post on my roasting technique? (It’s not really this.)

      1. CarolJ

        Yes, please. My efforts at roasting broccoli and cauliflower have left me with shrunken and desiccated bits of unchewable vegetable matter rather than succulent morsels. And the broccoli seems to become bitter.

      2. Eve

        Yes! I roast vegetables all the time, but am always interested in doing it BETTER. So, you say if I go 30/10 then I won’t get that thing where the barely-crisping bottoms of the potatoes kinda stick to the pan and tear off? I just never thought of not giving both sides equal time!

  26. Laura

    Hi Deb – Not recipe-related at all, I wanted to alert you to a technical glitch in the e-mails sent about new posts. In the last several I have received, the bottom link to take you to the post says “Read the rest of >>” with no link to click that goes directly to the post… just a heads up.

  27. Rose K

    Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom!
    Your blog and recipes are my “go to” (similar to Barefoot Contessa…straight forward and reliable).
    Through our years “together”, a few have become top ten favorites. 😁
    All the best for continued success and Happy Autumn!

  28. Annie

    My husband fell in love with the fast food place, Nandos, in S America. They have a few outlets in the US… And sell bottles of Peri Peri sauce. We can sometimes find at the store, sometimes order from Amazon. If you get your hands on a bottle, I’d love to hear if you think this would indeed be the same sauce.

    Also, we just got back from Berlin. They were very easy going about one of us splitting our plate with out 7 year old. Sometimes we would simply order a small plate of fries for her and split those among us, plus she had a plate to eat bites of our entrees. Plus we were paying for something for her. You’re right – there’s always a way and traveling with kids is doable.

  29. This looks really delicious! I’m going to have to give this a try this Fall – the picture of your youngest is very cute – and yes she is very fair skinned:)

  30. Nicky H-W

    I love your blog and your posts – they always bring a smile to my face! Wonderful sense of humor! My parents loved Portugal when they visited several years ago! Recipe looks fantastic!

  31. Ellie Grinspun

    I have enjoyed preparing your recipes for years and tell anyone I meet, that is remotely interested in cooking, to browse your site for fabulous, well tested and shared recipes.
    I do have one teeny complaint about the new site concerning printing options. In the past you condensed your recipes so that most of them fit onto one page. Now they seem to be endless (piri piri chicken is three pages long) and I hate to waste paper and like the ease of viewing most of the recipe on one page. Sorry to complain! Thank you!

    1. deb

      I actually have the print brackets in the wrong place on this, now fixed. It was 2 pages before; should just over 1 now. (And you are totally allowed to and encouraged to complain when something isn’t right!)

  32. Emily

    I am a former frequent traveler who now has two children under two. Although the recipe looks delicious, my favorite part of this post is your description of how Portuguese interact with children. Like, made me tear up and shop for flights. I’m also of the same parenting mindset, “we will never know if we don’t try it.” I’m sure Portugal’s department of tourism owes you an endorsement deal for all those of us trapped to the confines of toddlerhood who are now shopping for a Portugese summer vacation. Thank you for your encouragement!

  33. Gina

    As a ginger gal myself, I think you and your daughter’s lovely fair skin should be celebrated! Just load up on some Japanese or Korean sunscreens, because I know I’m not willing to make a trade off between cancer and greasy skin.

  34. Can you write a post on how to (successfully) travel internationally with two little kiddos? We have two little ones and are hoping to do this sometime in the next year or two but are scared :) How did you adjust for jet lag? Car seats? Etc…Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated! I’m sure you could fill a whole post devoted to this…

  35. Well this made me smile. Even the batata frita look good. If you cannot find a piri piri pepper – a good substitute is to simply use salt, crushed red pepper, and pepper (adjust to your heat level)- and let it marinate overnight.

    And Smitten! If you’re into churasco, head to Long Island! My entirely famiy’s go-to restaurant is Churrasqueira Bairrada. Been going there since it was a hole in the wall; go straight for the chicken and ask for the a side of hot sauce (so good). Get a chocolate mousse to end the night: http://churrasqueira.com/

    Obrigada!

  36. Mariclair

    I have been experimenting with my own piri piri interpretation since a week spent eating it daily on the beach in Sagres over a decade ago- but apartment living limited my grilling opportunities. Are you using a grill pan in the photo above?

    Also, I just returned from a family trip to Italy with our 13 month old in May, and thanked God for the Italians and their love of children the whole time- especially the flights there and back. Lots of face-making adults to keep our girl giggling!

  37. Sarah

    You went to Teodosio! Isn’t it an hilarious place?!?! We go with friends (one is Portuguese) every year or other year or so and always go there (and always end up ordering more) except we call it Chicken Warehouse.

  38. Teresa

    Sorry, this is not a question about the chicken. I am curious what you do with food that doesn’t turn out quite right. It sounds like you don’t serve it for dinner. Do you donate it to a homeless shelter?

    1. deb

      I don’t really test in a donate-to-homeless-shelter level at home. [The only time I had, I was testing sheet cakes for my last book. Still awkward if you have to take a slice out of each to see how it came out.] [Also, if something wasn’t good enough for us to eat, it’s not exactly appropriate for anyone else, no matter their situation.] If something flops and is inedible or not safe to eat, it goes in the trash. More often, if it’s just okay, we eat it anyway and don’t feel overly obligated to save any leftovers.

  39. JP

    Cook’s Illustrated July/August ’15 pg. 4-5 has their recipe for Peri Peri Chicken. It is a little more complicated than your recipe, including more ingredients. They suggest Arbol chilies and a bit of cayenne pepper to mimic Peri Peri Peppers. They also include peanuts chopped fine in the sauce. Because I am not a fan of spicy food, I think I might like your bell pepper version more, even leaving out the bird’s eye pepper and/or adding a tiny bit of cayenne to control the heat. Either way, it sure sounds like a delicious dinner. Thanks for the new recipe!

  40. Wendy J

    1- definitely stretchy headbands for that awesome baby hair
    2- I have a crowd descending on me in a few weeks, this will be on the menu
    3- For roasting veggies and everything else, you HAVE to check out the stoneware pans from Pampered Chef. I have the bar pan, actually 2 of them and use them constantly. Nothing sticks. You can roast on them one day and bake cookies the next and no transfer of garlic/onion flavor. Honestly, I am quite picky about my kitchen equipment, and after my cast iron pans, these are my most used things. You won’t be sorry.
    4- Can I please follow you around and make faces at your kids?

  41. I spanish/portuguese style chicken and spatch-cooked chicken is the best and most flavorful, in my humble opinion. This was no exception!! The balance in flavors offered by the tomatoes’ acidity and savory spices was perfect! My husband is not a big tomato fan but gobbled this right up with rave reviews!!

    Another great recipe!! Thank you:)

  42. Anna

    So I have been comming to your website a lot this summer as my family and I live in the mid-Atlantic region and anything that is simple and uses the stove as little as possible is a godsend. This recipe was a hit with my family but I need to add more hot stuff next time as we like lots of heat. I had to make some changes cause we didn’t have exactly all the ingredients listed.
    Cherry pepper and a pinch or chile powder in place of piri piri
    Fresh oregano and 1 leaf of Spanish oregano instead of dried oregano
    Parsley stems and culantro equal to 1/4 cup total
    Red onion instead of shallots
    Chicken breast instead of whole chicken or pieces

  43. lauraeyw

    Thank you for this! My husband and I are leaving for Portugal with our 3- and 1-year-old in <2 weeks, so this is great timing! (And very reassuring ;). I'm sure I'll be returning to this recipe when we're back.

  44. Ella

    Looks amazing! We were in Madrid this summer and coming from the States we found it both surprising and refreshing to see kids just playing in the courtyard between restaurants, coming back to the table occasionally, watched over by no one and everyone at the same time. We also fell in love with Tinto Verano, which is the laziest and most delicious sangria.

  45. Alicia

    Deb, come to Chicago on your book tour and visit Nandi’s Peri Peri! They’re opening up all over the city and the chicken is amazing! Now I want to go to Portugal to try the real deal.

  46. Gary

    I made this last night. Amazing! Worked great on the grill.. And it worked great in pieces, rather than spatchcock. Only thing I would change is a hotter pepper(s) next time, but that’s personal preference. I used a hot red cherry pepper, and I could barely taste the heat.

    I changed the salad a bit. I’m not big on raw onion, so I did a quick over-night pickle on the onions (glad I did). And, I had extra parsley so I put the tomatoes on a bed of parsley rather than just a little as garnish. I liked the effect, but probably would have preferred mixed greens over that much parsley.

    I had an issue with potatoes sticking to the pan, despite a generous amount of oil, but now that I think about it I was using foil rather than parchment paper. They still tasted fine, was just a pain to flip them.

  47. Ishtar

    Tried this today and LOVED it!!! Simple and delicious meal.
    Since I don’t have a grill we cooked in the oven. There was a lot of delicious sauce+juices that we’ll use for something else
    Well done, as usual. xxx

  48. I made this last night but used 4 chicken breast halves because it was what I had. It came out great..very tasty. I made the potatoes also. I used a Serrano chili which did add a nice punch of heat. YUM!

  49. Lynn D.

    Made the whole shebang, following your recipes closely. The potatoes, tomatoes (my garden fresh) and chicken were absolutely delicious. The pictures of the restaurant reminded me of some of the family friendly places we went to in Chile.

  50. Made this for dinner tonight along with the potatoes. I tried to grill it, but it was super windy here and I couldn’t keep my grill hot so I brought it inside. Still totally delicious. I used a red chili given to me from a friends garden–unfortunately I have no idea what kind it was. Regardless, the sauce was spicy but not overpowering. I wish I had doubled the sauce it was so good. One note, I used smoked paprika and when I tasted the sauce right after making it I thought the smokiness was overpowering. But after sitting in the fridge for several hours it was, as I said, delicious. I look forward to making all of this again! Thanks!!

    1. deb

      There is a print template that includes the recipe’s headnotes (not the whole essay above it) and no top photo. You can Cntrl+P from your browser to get to it or use the print icon after the DO MORE: tag under the recipe. I don’t include the photo or the essay in the print template or I get a lot of people yelling at me for wasting toner/paper.

  51. sparkgrrl658

    i also wanted to chime in about the hair clips mentioned in the email – i was a bald baby, and when i finally got hair it was very thin and fine. my sister was the one with the banana curls, though i had curls around the edge. now at 32, my hair is still very fine and soft. (sounds great, but is actually very annoying – doesn’t hold styles or hair “things” [tiny bobby pins and heavy clips slide out of my hair, while elastics always get knotted in], tangles easily, is easily weighed down by product, etc.)

    anyway, the one thing i like are the old lady pin curl clips. they actually not only stay in my hair but also hold a good amount of hair too. and they don’t pull my hair out when i remove them! i just use them plain, but if you are at all crafty, they are an easy base to glue on ribbon and a cute bead or button or whatever. and if you are not crafty, many people on etsy are and will gladly use that type of clip as a base upon request :)

    these are the ones i’m talking about:
    http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=10867520

  52. I made this tonight with the tomato salad, the fried potatoes, and some sautéed zucchini and broccoli! So delicious! The potatoes and leftover sauce never made it to the plate. I ate them like chips and dip while standing in the kitchen waiting for the chicken to roast. Yum.

  53. claudia

    i know especially with baking that often slight changes make huge differences, but i never have parchment paper, and i always wonder: does it make a difference if i use a baking sheet with a silpat mat instead? if so, is there a reusable option that would be more similar to parchment?

  54. May I adopt you??? I want you to be part of my family. You are so much fun and the recipes are — whatever??? That is what I want — whatever tastes good!! I’m definitely trying this out!

  55. Kate

    I made this last night. Delicious! I loved it! I used a whole bell pepper and added a jalapeno and a habanero pepper for a sauce that was spicy, but not overwhelming. I used cilantro throughout instead of parsley and didn’t marinate, just roasted the potatoes and the chicken at the same time at 425. Both turned out great, although the chicken didn’t brown as much as it probably would have at 450.

  56. Peter

    Finally got around to making this today. Total winner. Made the chicken, potatoes, and tomato salad as described. As we have a gas grill, I cooked the chicken skin side down on the grate (at 450F), then moved it to the cast iron grill plate on the other side to finish. No flares and cooked through. Thanks so much! This will be join the keepers.

  57. Amelia

    I remember a place called Julio’s in the Algarve with a beautiful porch and front garden with twinkly lights going through all the trees where you could devour their delicious frango piri piri. You can get all forms of piri piri sauces and the peppers at Seabres market in Newark, NJ, in addition to other Portuguese products. Their salt cod section alone is a small room. I have several jars of different heats and consistencies and packets of the dried peppers.

  58. bridgit

    Just made this, with less than half the sugar (because breakfast), and with the last of our peaches from the farmer’s market. Added a little extra milk (1 T?) to account for the loss of moisture from the reduced sugar. Following your cinnamon lead, I added a little cardamom and nutmeg as suggested by my 8 year old. It was delicious. I suspect I’ll be making it often, in many forms! Thank you.

  59. sparkgrrl658

    made this last night for dinner, it was very good. since we can’t grill and the whole chickens didn’t look so nice at the store that day, i used a cut up one instead. i halved the breasts like i do for the sheet pan chicken tikka so everything would cook evenly. (one of your best/simplest “why did i never think of that?” tips!)

    i used the green bird’s eye chiles instead of the red because i already had them on hand from an indian dish i was making, and ended up using half a dozen. it had a nice kick but wasn’t super spicy, except on one breast half which didn’t have any skin so the marinade was right on the meat. so next time i think i’m going to rub the marinade under the skin, or just forego the skin entirely since i don’t really get crispy skin in my oven. (or try the red bird’s eyes, since my grocery store carries both.) it’s easy to simply taste the marinade to check for spice or salt – it does intensify a little over time in the fridge (i left mine for about five hours) but not much.

    the marinated tomato salad was excellent – i always have some of your pickled onions in the fridge so i simply used those onions & some of their liquid, plus a splash of olive oil and some cucumbers for crunch. i only wish you had posted about this sooner since the heirlooms at WF are already getting not so great :( RIP summer! this will be a staple next year for sure though.

    the only thing that didn’t turn out for me were the potatoes. the bottoms were totally black at 20 minutes and i had to throw them all in the trash. not sure what happened there, i know my oven was the right temp and they weren’t cut super thin…not a big deal though as i still had some extra in the fridge and threw them in the microwave for ten minutes. i then popped them with a potato masher and sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. the extra marinade-sauce was SO GOOD over the potatoes! next time i’ll make extra marinade – we didn’t have any left and i could have eaten more on my plate but boyperson was enjoying it so much i didn’t have the heart to take it away, lol! (he actually literally did a happy dance after taking the first bite.)

  60. Carla

    Made this tonight for dinner. We loved it. I wasn’t sure about the raw bell pepper–might try roasted in the future–but it was still delicious. I used a whole red Fresno chili and it had a nice heat without being spicy. Next time will double the sauce so I can use it on more things! I marinated the chicken for about half an hour, but would love to try it for longer another time. The potatoes came out perfectly (roasted directly on the pan with plenty of oil) and the tomato salad was a nice fresh compliment. A very successful meal!

  61. ozbayoglu

    Beautiful, I love your recipes and love the whole chicken recipes.
    I tried “piri piri fish tray bake” recipe before and I’ll definitely try this one also.