Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

This peri peri chicken is so good. The potatoes just as good. And it is even better when you put all the cutlery away and dive in with your hands (as elegant as Nigella does it of course).

Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

As South Africans we are no strangers to peri peri chicken and I was intrigued to find this recipe on Feasting at Home a while back. It was based on a Donna Hay recipe and it immediately went on my “to make” list. I played with the ingredients a bit, referencing a Jerk Chicken recipe I saw Nigella make on one of her shows.

Again the heat is a personal preference. I loved using the smoked jalapeños as the smokiness did carry through. If you don’t have any smoked chillies, use fresh or another type of chilli. I would start with perhaps just one chilli and then taste the marinade before using it and add more as you require.

Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

The potatoes baking under the chicken is absolutely delicious and will be impossible to resist by any member of the anti-carb brigade. The temptation is there to increase the amount of potatoes but then you run the risk of the potatoes not cooking through by the time the chicken is done. If you want more potatoes I would suggest to bake some in a separate dish and increase the marinade ingredients by a quarter or so. Brush the pan with a thick layer of the marinade and dab the rest over the potatoes. As you brush the chicken during the cooking process add a spoon or two of the liquid forming underneath the chicken to the dish with the extra potatoes.

Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

I would like to think that this home made version trumps many of the fast food and restaurant versions out there. And I am sure that a chicken barbecued with this marinade on a Weber will be just magic.

Wine suggestion by Conrad Louw:

There are some fundamentals to take in consideration when pairing food with wine.  To go into it all, will take up several chapters of a book, so let me mention just a few.  The weight or texture of the food (i.e. rump steak is heavy and salad is light) must be in balance with the weight or texture of the wine (heavy full bodied Cabernet versus a light fruity Chenin Blanc).

Another fundamental is to pair the wine to the sauce which comes with the food.  Chicken is not just chicken and thus one can’t just say that Sauvignon Blanc is the best.  People used to say serve white wine with white meat.  NOPE – pair the wine with the sauce.  Chicken a la King is creamy (lightly wooded Semillon), and will require a very different wine to spicy Thai Chicken in coconut milk (Riesling or dry Gewürztraminer).  The same would apply to Spanish style chicken with chorizo sausage (Tempranillo or Pinotage) and a chicken & mushroom pie (Lightly wooded Chardonnay or light red wine).

So this spicy roast chicken with its very yummy sinful potatoes underneath it, calls for a wine to match spice.  If you want to make it extra hot, you will have to have a wine to join the cat fight with your taste buds (and there are wines to fit the category, like Rijk’s Pinotage).  But if you follow this recipe down to a T, you would be looking at a wine to balance with the smoked paprika, jalapenos, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger etc.  You will be looking for a lighter style Shiraz (spice on spice) and something to stand its man against the heat and perhaps that can offer some fruitiness.

My choice thus would sturdily lean toward Flat Roof Manor’s Shiraz-Mourvèdre-Viognier.  Mostly Shiraz-based, it is packed with smoky spicy notes with layers of raspberry and other fruit from the dash of Viognier.  Very price-friendly for what you get and will really compliment this BBQ chicken so you can repeat the process.  Enjoy!

Peri Peri Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 700g potatoes, thinly sliced and covered with cold water until needed
  • salt
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • Marinade:
  • 2 smoked jalapeños chillies (I used El Burro’s)
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional and more to taste)
  • 2 tbs smoked paprika
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs salt
  • a quarter cup red or white wine vinegar
  • a quarter cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2cm fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • fresh limes for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.
  3. Place on a cutting board, breast down.
  4. Using your knife or kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.
  5. Turn the chicken over and press it flat.
  6. Place all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  7. Taste the heat of the marinade and add more chilli or chilli flakes if needed.
  8. Brush a thick layer of marinade on the bottom of your baking pan.
  9. Remove the potatoes from the water and pat dry.
  10. Place the potatoes on top of the marinade and sprinkle with some salt and the thyme leaves. Brush the chicken all over with about half of the marinade (don't worry if some of the marinade ends up on the potatoes, you want that to happen).
  11. Place the chicken skin side down on the potatoes, place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, brush the chicken all over with half of the left over marinade and roast for a further 15 minutes.
  12. Brush the chicken again with the last bit of marinade and roast for a further 20 – 30 minutes until cooked and the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh.
  13. Return the chicken to the oven and increase the heat of the oven up to grill and grill the chicken for about 10 minutes to crisp the skin (you want the marinade to scorch a bit but keep an eye not to burn the skin.
  14. Remove the dish from the oven, remove the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  15. While the chicken rests, gently stir the potatoes through the juices in the pan and place back in the oven under the grill for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy on top.
  16. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a few wedges of lime to squeeze over the chicken.
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* This recipe forms part of the Flat Roof Manor Food and Wine Pairing Series

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