Marinate the chicken overnight. The oil is best made 2 days ahead to allow the flavours to develop. Refrigerate oil for up to 1 week covered or in a sterilised jar.





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  • 1.5 kg whole chicken
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • fried potatoes, and black-eyed beans, to serve

Piri piri oil

  • 4 long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 8 small dried red chillies 
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • 1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil

Piri piri marinade

  • 2 tbsp piri piri oil 
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 75 g butter, melted, at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves 
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make piri piri oil, using a mortar and pestle, pound chillies and garlic to a paste. Place in a small pan over high heat and stir in whisky, sherry, lemon juice, bay leaf, 125 ml oil and 1 tsp salt. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and whisk in remaining 125ml oil. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 1½ cups.

To make marinade, process 2 tbsp piri piri oil, paprika, butter, garlic, thyme and 1 tsp salt in a food processor to a paste. Gradually add lemon juice and process until combined. Set aside.

Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Butterfly, then score breasts and thighs. Rub with marinade and place in a large shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Heat a chargrill or barbecue to high. Place chicken, skin-side down, and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned. Turn over and brown for a further 15 minutes.

Transfer to an oven tray and roast for 30 minutes, basting with a bunch of thyme dipped in 125 ml piri piri oil every 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

Cut chicken into 4 pieces and serve with potatoes, black-eyed beans and piri piri oil.

Drink Cerveja Sagres Branca, Portugal ($2.75 for 330ml)

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg69.

Photography by Derek Swalwell