Peri-Peri Chicken from brilliant African cookbook The Groundnut. Chicken is marinated with garlic, chillies, paprika, lime and honey to create an explosion of vibrant flavour. Cook it on a grill, the barbecue or even in the oven, it's sure to go down a treat.
- 1 small whole chicken (about 600g), or 4 chicken legs and thighs
- 4 small green chillies or African bird’s-eye chillies
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp salt
- 100ml lime juice
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp clear honey
Either ask a butcher to remove the backbone and neck of the chicken (but not the skin), or use a sharp knife or some scissors to do it yourself. We like to butterfly the breast as well, using a sharp knife to slice the breasts in two but making sure they are still attached. This ensures that there is a greater surface area for the marinade to be in direct contact with the grill, and the overall cooking time is reduced.
Deseed 2 of the chillies and put them into a blender or a pestle and mortar with the remaining whole chillies, paprika, peeled garlic cloves, salt, lime juice, honey and white pepper. Crush to a fine paste and set aside.
Lay the chicken on a work surface and press down on the breasts to lay it flat (so it spreads like a butterfly). Place in a tray suitable for marinating, add the chilli marinade and massage well into all the crevices. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours – preferably overnight to get better flavour. Marinating in this instance makes a real difference.
Take the chicken out of the marinade and lay it under a hot grill for 40 minutes, turning and rotating the tray every 10 minutes. Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and add a tablespoon of oil. Use this sauce to coat the chicken once on each side with a pastry brush, before turning it a second time. The time it takes to cook will vary depending on the effectiveness of your grill and the size of the chicken. Grilling can be challenging and requires regular attention, so alternatively sear the two sides of the chicken under a hot grill until the skin crisps, then put it into the oven at 170ºC/gas mark 3 for 40 minutes.