Portuguese Chicken with Blood Orange Piri Piri Sauce

Cooking time
Serves2 people

Piri piri chicken is a Portuguese classic. Our version adds in new season blood oranges for extra zing. Garlicky rice and sweet salad are delicious on the side.


  • 200g brown basmati rice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 8 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 100ml cold water
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 400ml boiling water
  • 1 cucumber
  • 75g sweet salad mix
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prep: 25 min | Cook: 55 mins

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1. Heat your grill to its highest setting. Tip the rice into a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside to soak. Peel the onion and cut into 8 wedges. Cut the pepper in half and scoop out the seeds. Pull the stalk from the chilli.
2. Line a baking tray with foil and arrange the onion, pepper and chilli on it. Drizzle the onion wedges with 2 tsp oil. Drop on 1 unpeeled garlic clove. Grill for 4-5 mins. Turn the chilli over and grill for another 4-5 mins till everything is charred. Heat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7.
3. Pop the pepper halves and chilli in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for 5 mins to cool, then carefully peel off the blackened skin (don’t worry if some skin stays attached). For a less spicy dish, slice open the chilli and scrape out the seeds and white bits. Carefully squeeze the grilled garlic from its skin.
4. Put the pepper, chilli, garlic and onion in a food processor. Add 1 tsp oregano and 1 tbsp vinegar. Squeeze in the juice from 1 blood orange. Add 100ml water. Season and blitz. No processor? Finely chop the veg and stir with the vinegar, orange juice and water.
5. Rub 1 tsp oil into the skin of each chicken thigh and season. Heat a griddle or frying pan till it’s hot. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Fry for 3-4 mins till the skin is crisp.
6. Transfer to a roasting tin, skin-side up. Spoon over the peri peri sauce. Cut the remaining blood orange into 8 wedges and nestle around the chicken. Roast for 40 mins till the chicken is cooked through.
7. Meanwhile, peel the remaining garlic clove. Drain the rice. Tip into a pan. Add 400ml boiling water and the garlic. Cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down. Simmer for 25 mins till the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Take off the heat. Set aside, lid on, for 5 mins to finish cooking. Dig out the garlic clove and squash it. Stir it back into the rice.
8. Roughly chop half the cucumber. Pop in a bowl with the salad leaves. Drizzle over 2 tsp oil and some seasoning. Toss to mix. Serve the chicken with the garlicky rice and salad and any remaining sauce, with the orange wedges on the side for squeezing.
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