Cheap eats: Peri-Peri Chicken w Spring Greens

This is a simple dish that can be done en masse, at low cost and is quite healthy. The chicken is packed with flavour and that classic peri-peri kick. The greens add a fresh flavour and crunch that may seem unusual with a traditionally Portugese or African dish. But I tell you, it all comes together very well and is a great one for fans of spice.

peri peri chicken

 What you need:

Chicken:

Thighs and drumsticks (couple of each per person though if you want more just increase the amount of marinade ingredients)

For the marinade:

2 fresh medium or medium-hot chillies depending on your preference (a fresh jalapeno or long cayenne works well or a variation of the piri-piri, obviously.)

3-4 tablespoons of lime juice

2-3 tablespoons of oil (I use olive but vegetable works too)

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

1-3 teaspoons crushed or minced garlic

1 tablespoon of paprika

Handful of fresh chopped coriander

Good pinch of salt and pepper

For the greens:

Pack of large leaf greens, thickly chopped

1 crushed garlic bulb

6-8 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 small white onion, sliced

2 sticks of celery, thinly chopped

2-3 Rashers of bacon, cut into bits. Or use packaged lardons

What to do:

  • To prepare the marinade put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stab the chicken and add it to the mixed up marinade. I cover the top with clingfilm (make sure it’s on properly) and give it a manic shake so you get a good coverage.
  • Leave the bowl in the fridge for 1 hour, minimum, though I like to do it overnight and recommend this for a fuller flavour.
  •  When you’re ready to get cooking preheat the oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6/Fan 180. Line a baking tray or dish with foil and put it in the oven to heat too.
  • Pop the chicken in the oven when it’s heated up. It will take 25-30 minutes but it’s good to check on it too. I take it out when the skin gets nice and crispy and the juices run clear.
  • In the meantime let’s get the greens-a-going. Pop them in a pan of boiling water add heat and cook until soft. They do quite quickly so keep them on a low heat. I take a little nibble now and then to see how they’re doing; they’re a little better with some crunch in the stems so don’t nuke them.
  • Next pop a little olive oil in a frying pan, enough to stop things sticking. Let it heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook on a medium-low heat, you want them softened and yellowing.
  • Add the celery, mushrooms & bacon and cook until it all starts to brown a little. Monitor the heat as you don’t want anything burnt. It’s good to keep things moving in the pan.
  • When it’s all done mix the warm greens and ‘bacony’ mix in a bowl and add some salt and pepper to taste.
  • When the chicken is cooked just serve it all up. I like to do a big plate of greens and place the spicy peri-peri chicken on top.
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