Sunday, February 10, 2008

Frango Piri-Piri

When visiting Southern Africa you invariably end up in Maputo. When in Maputo you may meet Lulu [pictured centre inset]. When you meet Lulu he will introduce you to the frango - portuguese 4 dead Chicken – call them galinhas when they’re running around – which reminds me – when you' re in a country where the chickens are running around: order the chicken– aint no better way to ensure you’ve got free range.

Less than a recipe, this is more a combination of techniques and preferences borrowed from friends (mostly Lulu) for a hot chicken that beats the pants off Nando’s and still has your unrehabilitated chicken addicts (e.g. Sar/Lambert) screaming for more. Feel free to adapt so long as you are cooking on charcoal/bbq and as long as you give the marinade its time.

As for the piri-piri, it’s a chilli. Get on the net - hold on, you already are - and you’re gonna find all types of goateed wankers waxing lyrical about what a REAL piri-piri is or isn’t. For those of us without conquistadorial roots, just get some small red hot chillies. Bite one, that should let you know if its got the punch.

Serves: 4 persons
Preparation time: 3 weeks!!!!!

Ingredients for Piri-piri
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons ground piri-piris or substitute piquin or Thai chillies
1 clove garlic, minced, or more to tasted
1 cup olive oil

Grind the ingredients, dry to wet. Put in a jar. Shake like crazy. Leave in fridge for 3 weeks.

Ingredients for Chicken
1 Whole Chicken (preferably organic or free range)
8-10 Cloves garlic, ground
6-8 Limes
3-4 Lemons

24-48 hours before you plan to serve, butter-fly the chicken. This is easy as long as you have shearing scissors, a sharp knife and you follow this dude on video – he’s the master.

Trim off excess fat and reserve with the bones for stock - with a sharp knife, make deep slashes into the flesh of the bird wherever possible trying to keep the skin in tact. Apply some salt to each slash, then shove garlic into cavities, and pour over lemon/lime so, quoting Lulu ‘that the frango will suck the marinade??? hehehe...’ Leave for 30 minutes then apply your piri-piri in the same way – remember to save some for the grill.

An option which I like because its fun and probably adds punch, is to give the chicken a good 'jerk' while applying the marinade – I know which of our friends are sniggering right now. This is a Jamaican technique that I do with a chop-stick, stabbing and bashing at al the fleshy parts of the meat at will – feel free to puncture and tear a little.

Cover and leave overnight or longer in the fridge.

Tuck the wings in as shown on the video. Charcoal grill the bird flat on a bbq at medium heat for about 1 hour. Some prefer to use a brick or something heavy to keep the chook flat. On your final two turns baste with remaining piri-piri. You may like to add some brown sugar or honey to the marinade if you want a glaze. Chook is ready when you skewer and juices run clear not pink.

Serve with fries, cool crisp salad and Laurentina or some other easy drinking beer.

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