Always in search of a new way to prepare chicken that is savory and satisfying, especially during the cold winter. Any excuse to turn on the oven! This recipe for Piri Piri Chicken combines flavors that I am very familiar with, such as annatto and guajillos. It could certainly be adapted for the crock pot, but there is something to be said for that searing before it all gets roasted in the oven. Don’t skip that step, lol! You will be losing out on a ton of flavor. Piri Piri, is a Portuguese term for hot chilies or the hot sauce made from them. How well I know about that….mmmmm!
1/4 to 1/2 cup of annatto oil or olive oil
3 guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
6 to 8 chile de arbol, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 to 4 pounds (6 pieces) skin on, bone in chicken thighs or legs
1 large chayote, sliced thin
1 large russett potato, sliced thin
*Piri Piri, Portuguese term for hot chilies or the hot sauce made from them
1. In a large skillet, preheat 3 tablespoons of annatto oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add in the chile guajillo, chile de arbol, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, turning as needed.
2. Add in the oregano, cilantro, smoked paprika, broth, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, taste for salt and pepper. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes or until the dried peppers soften. Carefully transfer to the blender and let cool for a few minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To that same skillet add about 1/4 cup of annatto oil and preheat for 5 minutes. Season the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the chicken pieces for 5 minutes per side and set aside. Secure the lid on the blender and blend on high until the sauce is smooth. Divide the sauce into 3 equal parts.
4. In a large baking dish, add 1/3 of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, spread out evenly. Spread out the sliced potatoes and chayotes to the cover the sauce. Drizzle with annatto oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Using another portion of the sauce, brush the bottoms of the chicken and arrange top side up into baking dish, baste with the remaining sauce you just used.
5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, remove from oven and baste. Bake covered for 20 minutes, baste with remaining sauce ans bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 180 degrees. Cook under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp up the skin, let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings.
Notes: To make the annatto oil, add 1/4 cup of annatto seeds to 1/2 cup olive oil. Heat to medium until right before the oil starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes, strain the annatto seeds and store oil in an airtight container. Will keep for a few weeks.