I am not good at remembering dates but in January of about 1998 I decided I needed to take a budget trip to Portugal. I searched on line for B&B’s and settled on two. One was a fabulous old summer home in Lisbon still in the aristocratic family that built it. The other was a covey of cottages in the countryside in the Algarve.
I am the first to admit that math is not my strong point but how could I get it all backwards with exchange between the Euro and the Canadian dollar, I don't know? Rather than being cheap, it was actually quite expensive.
I am so thankful for my mistakes. Both B&B’s were magical. In the Algarve I rented a car and did a lot of driving through the countryside and along the coast. My B&B host told me that there was a good little restaurant in the nearby village. It was the only restaurant in the quaint village. I drove up and down every tiny little lane until I found it.
There was no worry about the language. The only thing on the menu was chicken dinner. How lovely. When I saw this recipe in the March 2010 for Portuguese chicken, it took me back to all the fond memories of that trip.
I sat down. We smiled at each other. There were only 3 or 4 tables. They brought me food. The chicken was cooked in their wood-fuelled oven and served with fries. Dessert was simply a lovely, sliced orange picked from their own tree. It was a meal I will never forget. That was before I had a digital camera, so my pictures are packed away with the rest of my household.
Portuguese Chicken adapted from Chatelaine magazine March 2010
1 whole chicken, 3 lb
generous pinches of coarse salt
½ c olive oil
½ c white wine
1 t piri piri sauce
3 large cloves of garlic
3 large cloves of garlic
1 T paprika
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf, crumbled
- Using kitchen scissors, cut the backbone from the chicken and discard (or save for stock). Cut off and discard any excess fat or skin. Place, skin side up, on a large cutting board. Using both hands, press down on breastbone until chicken is as flat as possible. Massage to cover chicken with juice. Refrigerate at least 1 ½ hours.
- When ready to roast, preheat oven to 400f. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place a rack on the foil, then set chicken, breast side up, on the rack. Roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk oil with wine, piri piri sauce, paprika, parsley, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Brush chicken with oil mixture. Continue roasting and basting ivery 10 minutes until chicken is cooked and skin is crispy, about 45 minutes.
- Slice into pieces and spoon pan juices over top. Serve with fries or roasted baby potatoes and a green salad.