One of my favourite things to do in Sydney is head to Little Portugal and go to town on some Petersham Charcoal Chicken. The whole street smells like charcoal chicken so it’s pretty hard to go through there without deciding to stop and eat. Now that I don’t live in the Inner West anymore it’s a little harder to just swing by there, so I’ve started making this myself at home. I also have the unfortunate living situation where I don’t have an outdoor space that allows a barbecue, so I’ve made this version under my grill. I highly recommend using a barbecue with coals to get the proper smokey flavour, but if you can’t, this method certainly does the trick.
- 1 whole chicken
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- Pinch salt
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon of bay leaf powder
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 shots scotch whisky (80mls)
- 2 tablespoon very soft butter
- Rock salt
Peri Peri Sauce
- 10 birdseye chillies, chopped finely
- Pinch salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 100 mls olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
Start with the peri peri sauce by simply mixing all ingredients together. Move onto the chicken by trimming away excess fat. Butterfly the chicken by taking a sharp knife or kitchen scissors and cut the chicken through the breastbone. Open out, turn over and flatten by pressing down with your hand along the backbone. Make some small cuts under each wing to help it flatten further. To allow the chicken to absorb as much of a marinade as possible, make several incisions in the flesh with a sharp knife.
Mix together the garlic, lemon juice, bay leaf powder, paprika, butter and salt and massage the marinade into the chicken. Make sure you sprinkle on some extra rock salt. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Put your grill to high and place the marinated chicken in a roasting tin underneath for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. You’ll need to frequently rotate and baste the chicken to make sure it’s cooked evenly. You’ll get some pieces that will char, but don’t worry as those little burnt bits are delicious.
When it’s all cooked, cut the chicken into pieces with kitchen scissors and brush with the Piri Piri sauce. Serve with a bowl of handcut chips and get ready for some messy fingers.
JAM: Rão Kyao – Água De Côco
I’ve never been to Portugal, but this song sums up all the images I have in my head of the country. Relaxing, unique, mysterious, easy going… I have no idea if any of that is true to Portugal, but it’s a romantic image in my head that I choose to believe. The track I’ve chosen is by Portugese saxophone and bamboo flute artist Rão Kyao, from his 1986 album Oasis. The song, Água De Côco, is a lovely track mixing oriental melodies and traditional Portuguese fado music that’s just funky enough to get your toe tapping as you sink deeper into your chair. You’ll want to after you’ve eaten so much chicken.
Annoyingly, I haven’t been able to upload a version of this track to stream without the copyright police removing it, but you can check the sample on iTunes and buy it from there. You should, really, because it’s worth it.