Peri Peri, pronounced “pee-ree” is billed as a Portuguese spice blend, but its roots are African. The blend gets its potency from African bird’s eye chili, and the name is also from Africa (“peri” means “pepper” in Swahili).
I was given a can of a delightful mix made be Cape Herb & Spice Company from my South African aunt and uncle for Christmas. My indulgent family brought all kinds of spice treats, including several blends from the South African franchise Nando’s (which, by the way, is reportedly a favorite of Robert Pattinson’s). Nando’s serves flame-grilled, spice-laden chicken, the likes of which I haven’t been able to find stateside.
I’ve been dying to use this blend for some time and have been working on a recipe that would allow me to try Nando’s style (chicken) and also to bring out the Portuguese flavor associated with Peri Peri. I settled on a chorizo-chicken bake and I think it’s a great, easy, one-dish meal with huge flavor and little prep time.
If you aren’t able to find Peri-Peri (and if you don’t feel inclined to order some online), you can make your own. Here’s a recipe I found for a blend with readily-available ingredients.
Peri-Peri Chicken & Chorizo Roast with Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes
You will need:
- 2 whole chicken breasts, skin on; or 4 chicken thighs, also skin on (you can substitute with skinless, but this is too good to mess with)
- 16 ounces of pork chorizo
- 2 large zucchini, sliced thick
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (whole)
- 1 bunch fresh parsley (appx. 1 cup), chopped
- 2 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
- 2 tbsp. Peri Peri spice blend
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. each salt, black pepper, and cumin
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ cup Cotija cheese crumbles, or more, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- This is too easy to make. Rub the chicken with the Peri Peri blend and put in the middle of a large oven-proof baking dish.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (except chorizo), spreading evenly around the chicken.
- Add the chorizo last and don’t worry too much about stirring it evenly. The sausage seems to sink down as it cooks.
- Bake for forty minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle Cotija on top before serving. Serve with extra cheese as desired.