Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Piri-Piri Chicken with Pan-Fried Parmesan Polenta

Piri-Piri Chicken is traditionally made from PiriPiri peppers which originated in South Africa. Today, most hot sauces from Portugal are referred to as Piri-Piri, which is the Swahili word for the incendiary red peppers of Africa, primarily those of Angola and Mozambique, former Portuguese colonies. Because of the seafaring nature of the Portuguese, it didn't take long for these 'bite-size pods of fire' to make their way to Lisbon aboard spice ships returning from the East. Mainlanders wasted no time in turning the torrid chiles into a versatile sauce, with cooks using it as a marinade, a basting liquid and a condiment. The perfect partner with shrimp, chicken and fish, this delicious recipe for Piri-Piri Chicken with Pan-Fried Parmesan Polenta was kindly given to me by a talented Toronto chef of a private club in Toronto, after we ordered this dish from his new menu. The unanimous verdict: sensational. 

Piri Piri Sauce with Portuguese Chicken marinade

Chicken pieces in the marinade are covered with cling film and chilled for a few hours

The chicken is grilled on the BBQ over medium high for about 15-20 minutes, 
until the chicken pieces are cooked through

The plated dish by Chef Fisher from The Donalda Club, Toronto

Piri-Piri Chicken
Serves 4

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, peeled, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb chicken, backbone removed, opened flat

For the glaze, melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic and cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add piri-piri sauce and lemon juice, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 2 minutes. The glaze can be made up to 1 day ahead. Just cover, chill and rewarm before using.

For the chicken, finely chop the cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add piri-piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, pepper and process the marinade to blend.

Place the chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Using palm of hand, press on breastbone to flatten chicken, tucking the wing tips underneath. Pour half of marinade into a large glass baking dish. Spatchcock the chicken by opening it like book and place it skin side down in single layer in the dish. Pour the remaining marinade overtop, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning the chicken occasionally.

Remove the top rack from barbecue. Preheat the barbecue to medium. If using 2-burner gas grill, light 1 burner. If using 3-burner gas grill, do not light centre burner. If using charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour onto 1 side of lower grill rack. Place a large disposable aluminum baking pan on the unlit part of grill. Place upper grill rack on barbecue and brush with oil.

Remove the chicken from marinade and arrange skin side up on the grill rack above the drip pan. Cover the barbecue and grill the chicken until the skin is browned, turning often, about 40 minutes, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F. Transfer to a platter. Pour warm glaze over and serve with a portion of pan fried Parmesan Polenta, some stir-fried broccolini and garnish with a wedge of lemon and micro greens for the full Donalda Club effect!

Pan-Fried Polenta
Serves 4

1/2 cup butter, divided 
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion 
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 1/4 cups chicken broth 
2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add the broth, and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in the cornmeal and the next 3 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cover and chill for 3 to 12 hours, or until firm. 

Cut the polenta into 12 triangles or rectangles. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 polenta triangles, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm. Repeat the procedure with remaining polenta and butter. Serve with the Piri-Piri Chicken.