Portuguese chilli chicken

This summer is going to be the season of Portuguese chicken. Grill it, baste it, rest it and serve with loads of spicy chips and chargrilled corn. What’s better than summer heat? Fresh spicy food, cleansed and cooled with an ice cold beer.








2kg whole free range chicken, lightly brined


  • 160ml olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dipping sauce

  • 125g butter
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Sprig of rosemary

To serve

  • Lemon wedges
  • 3 corn cobs, cut into 8cm lengths, quartered lengthwise, blanched and chargrilled
  • Hand cut fries, herbed salt


1. Prepare the chicken

Put the chicken onto a chopping board, breast side down. Using sharp poultry scissors, cut out the backbone. Spread the chicken open, turn over and press on the breast to flatten. Pat dry with paper towel.

2. To make the marinade

Place all the marinade ingredients into a food processor (reserving 40ml oil for cooking) and blitz together, season to taste. Put the butterflied chicken into a flat container, pour over 3/4 of the marinade (the remaining 1/4 will be used to baste during cooking), coating the chicken evenly, especially massaging under the skin where possible. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight will achieve the best results).

3. To cook the chicken

Before cooking, sit chicken at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C. Heat a large oven proof pan over a medium high heat, add the reserved oil. Sear the chicken, breast side down, for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook a further 5 minutes. Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade. Cover with baking paper and foil then roast for 30 minutes, checking halfway through. Add a little water to the pan if too dry. Remove from the oven, remove the baking paper and foil, baste with the cooking juices. Return to oven to roast for a further 20 minutes, basting again after 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked though, golden and crispy.

4. To make the dipping sauce

Heat a small saucepan, add the butter, chilli, garlic and rosemary sprig, stir gently until melted. Set aside until needed.

5. To serve

To serve, cut the chicken into 8 and serve on a shared plate drizzled with pan juices, lemon wedges, chilli butter, corn, hand cut fries and dipping sauce.

As seen in Summer 21/22

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aMag Sum21 FA COVER