to Nando’s, my fave
a haiku dedication
please send me some sauce?
The first time I ever tried Nando’s was while on vacation in London and I immediately fell in love. The spicy Portuguese style chicken is so tender and flavorful in a huge, make-your-eyes-water-and-your-tongue-tingle kind of way. In a GOOD way. I was hooked. I made sure to go back to Nando’s for a second chicken platter before my flight out. That was two years ago, and I’ve missed this chicken terribly, BUT THEN(!) – Nando’s decided to open restaurant locations in Chicago this summer! Best news ever. I subscribed to the emails, eagerly followed the golden cockerel hunt (for free Nando’s for a year!), and made sure to visit several times before…
I moved to Ann Arbor, MI last month. There is no Nando’s location anywhere in this state. And then, one day I saw a tweet by Nando’s and it totally derailed me. Definitely spent a good half an hour reading about and salivating (longingly) over each of their sauces on their website. Decided right then that I NEEDED my Peri Peri chicken fix immediately, AND SO here we have it… my attempt at making homemade Peri Peri chicken!
…without Nando’s sauces. Or even bird’s eye chili, aka the central ingredient to the magical Peri Peri sauce. Or a grill. But hey! It actually turned out to be a really, really delicious experiment! And SO easy! Doesn’t really taste quite like Nando’s, but the chicken came out tender and so flavorful, and my insatiable craving is satisfied… for now.
But for real, this recipe is actually so easy. The sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make, then the chicken is marinated in it (I’d recommend marinating up to 24 hours – that’s how long Nando’s marinates their chicken!). Then you just pop the chicken in the oven, or throw it on the grill! So. Easy.
Peri Peri Chicken
- chicken (I used 8 thighs, other parts should work too!)
- 8-10 bird’s eye chili (adjusted for spice level, I used serrano peppers as a sub)
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp oregano
- large pinch salt
- large pinch pepper
- Prep the peri peri sauce. Put all the ingredients except for the chicken in a blender and blend until smooth. Can adjust the amount of olive oil for a nice consistency.
- Use about a third of the sauce to marinate the chicken for a least a couple of hours. I slitted the chicken a little to really allow the marinade to get in there and add its flavor. I marinated for a full 24 hours.
- If you have a grill, use it! Otherwise, when you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken on a foiled and (lightly) oiled cooking pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Take the chicken out to baste with more sauce (about half of the remaining amount) and flip over. Let bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is browned and done on the inside.
- Drizzle the last bit of sauce on top (or serve on the side if it’s too spicy!) and enjoy!