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Piri Piri Chicken

Use the delicious marinade for whole chickens as well as smaller pieces like thighs and drumsticks

It is all too easy to find piri piri chicken in Lisbon, as most neighbourhoods have at least one, and often several, simple restaurants serving chargrilled spicy chicken, fries, and salad, along with salt cod fritters, barbecued sardines, grilled chouriço (chorizo) sausages, and seafood rice. Locals get take-out or eat at tables set with paper tablecloths, sipping ice-cold beers or carafes of chilled vinho verde, a pale green Portuguese wine.

Traditionally, piri piri chicken is grilled or barbecued on its own, but for an incredibly easy meal, add some roughly chopped onion, a whole head of garlic, and chunks of sweet or white potato to the pan, perhaps with a few thick strips of bell pepper. Toss with an extra tablespoon of olive oil and roast the whole lot together.

This marinade will work for a whole roast chicken (although you will need more sauce), or for chicken wings as well as thighs or drumsticks. Wings will need around half the cooking time below, while separated thighs and drumsticks will need roughly 5 minutes less. — Rebecca Seal, author of Lisbon

This recipe uses piri piri sauce — you can easily buy store bought. If you want to make your own, click here for the simple and delicious recipe.


  • 4 whole free-range (organic if possible) chicken legs (thigh and drumstick together)
  • 4 Tablespoons piri piri sauce
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A little salt


Place all the ingredients in a large oven tray and toss until the chicken is well coated.

You can cook the chicken straight away, but ideally leave it to marinate for as long as you can — even overnight (in the fridge).

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tray in the oven and cook for 45–55 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken legs, until the skin is crisp and sticky, the meat is cooked and pulls away from the bone easily, and the juices run clear.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Lisbon by Rebecca Seal and Steven Joyce (2017, Hardie Grant Books)