Portuguese Chicken

In honor of my mother and father’s 50th wedding anniversary this September, I wanted to prepare something special. Something that represented them. 10547820_1621417734751371_6512407366738473364_oSo I called my mom and asked her if there was one dish that both my mother and father adored. It didn’t even take her a second to think. She knew. “Portuguese Chicken“, she told me.

She couldn’t have chosen a better recipe.  Aside from the fact that it is their dish of choice, the recipe itself actually has many similarities with my parents.  Like mom and dad, it is Portuguese. 10458345_10152309551876846_1596440911092191879_n
Born on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, my mother and father lived unknowingly on the very same street as children. However, it wasn’t until many years later in Canada that they met, fell in love and got married!

The dish is spicy! Like my parents, this recipe has some kick to it. I personally love

12063383_1810014485891694_3727954679992191605_nspicy food, and anyone who does will absolutely adore this dish. What would a marriage (or a Portuguese recipe) be without a little spice!?
It’s simple. My mom will be the first to tell you that she is happiest when she is at home, in her backyard, sipping a coffee and listening to the birds who frequently pay visits. My father’s garden is his kingdom and when you see him in his element, it is made quite clear that he is happiest there.  The simple things.  This recipe will not have you racing to the supermarket for crazy ingredients, have you slaving over a stove for hours on end. It is simple, effective and absolutely delectable.


Portuguese Chicken

Serves 4



3 lbs or 1.5 kg whole chicken or chicken pieces

1 lemon

Generous pinches of coarse salt like sea salt or kosher

½ olive oil

½ cup dry white wine

2 tsp piri-piri sauce (possibly written as peri-peri) A MUST!

4 larges cloves garlic peeled and crushed

1 tbsp paprika

3 sprigs fresh Italian parsley

1 bay leaf, crumbled


Cut off and get rid of any excess fat or skin.  Place in a large resealable freezer bag.  Squeeze in juice from lemon and sprinkle with salt.  Squeeze air from bag and seal

IMG_4389tightly and massage to cover chicken with juice and salt.  Place bag in a container (in case of leakage) and refrigerate at least 2 hrs massaging a couple of times.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 400F and place chicken in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.

While that is roasting, in a medium bowl, whisk oil with wine, piri-piri sauce, garlic, paprika, parsley, bay leaf and a pinch of salt.  Brush chicken with oil mixture.  Continue roasting and basting every 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is cooked and skin is crispy, about one hour in total.

If chicken hasn’t yet reached desired crisp level, you may broil on high for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon pan juices overtop and serve with baby roasted potatoes, rice, a green salad, your choice of sides.

Bom apetite!


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