A good friend said to me recently that she was more so than ever looking forward to her eventual retirement, so that she too could spend her time cooking to her heart's content, as I am doing now. I must say, apart from having to stay off my feet post operatively for a few weeks while my broken foot mends, I have indeed been doing plenty of experimental cooking, and I'm loving it (as is my Peter).
Recipe development is a past time that I greatly enjoy, especially now I have time to indulge (that said, might I just throw in that life in retirement has, thus far, been crazy busy). Sometimes it takes a while to perfect a recipe, particularly one that will be shared here. One of my creations from last year has taken me a while to publish, because I simply wasn't happy with the images. There is, methinks, a very special art form to photographing chicken and making the bird look 'pretty', or appetising at the very least. So, here goes with my Piri-Piri chicken with tangy blood orange, which is tender and absolutely full of flavour. What do you think, would you like to sample a morsel of this dish, my friends?
With plenty of home-grown chillies and garlic, as well as a good stock of paprika AND a box of blood oranges at hand, the idea of a spicy piri-piri creation juzzed up with blood oranges made my mouth water. Since first creating it, I've made this several times over and decided that the recipe is a keeper.
Piri-piri, also known as peri-peri, is Portuguese in origin and refers to a very hot chilli sauce or spice combination. According to my research, the French version of the dish is termed pilli-pilli. Spice master, Ian 'Herbie' Hemphill says 'Piri-Piri is another name for chillies, generally used in South Africa and parts of India... it is also the terms for a blend of chillies, such as Cayenne pepper, and will have a tangy taste profile.' It does indeed, and this is enhanced beautifully by the addition of blood oranges. My citrus grower friend, Len, has christened the dish Piri-Piri con sanguinello.
PIRI-PIRI CHICKEN WITH TANGY BLOOD ORANGE
Piri-Piri con Sanguinello
1.7kg free range chicken
For the marinade:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons brown or muscovado sugar
2 x cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 bird's eye chillies, sliced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 blood oranges, extra, sliced
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small jug and whisk until combined. Clean any feathers off the bird and remove any dried skin from the bone at ends of the legs. Place it breast side down onto a food safe cutting board and using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, butterfly the chicken. To do this, cut down either side of the back of the bird, starting at the Parson's nose, through the rib bones, and discard that bone. Turn it over and, using your hands, flatten the bird out like a butterfly. Oh, and leave the skin intact.
Pop the chicken skin side up onto a lined baking tray atop a few slices of the extra orange and brush with the marinade, ensuring that all parts of the bird are covered. Lay a few more slices of blood orange over the middle of the chicken. Pop it into the oven and allow it to bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C, then lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 40 minutes or so, basting with the pan juices from time to time. Cover the chicken with foil if you feel the skin is starting to burn. Rest the chicken for ten minutes before cutting it into serving sized pieces (either quarters and eighths) with salad or vegetables. Serves 4-6.
Note: Refrigerate any leftovers and serve cold. The chicken will be even spicier/hotter the following day.
Exquisite Redbelly Oranges...
Piri-Piri... a blend of hot chillies and spices...
Butterflying a chicken is easy...
Just look at that ruby colour!
Do I look good enough to eat?
A note of thanks to my friends Len, Vito and Anthony Mancini, from Redbelly Citrus, for so generously sending me a box of freshly-picked oranges. Your fruit is truly exquisite, and Peter and I have greatly enjoyed consuming it!
Tell me dear readers, do you like the flavours of piri-piri? Have you ever tried making it with blood oranges? And would you refer to this dish as piri-piri, peri-peri or pilli-pilli in your part of the world?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.