Food & Drink Magazine

“looking” for Peri Peri Chicken

By Skfsullivan @spectacularlyd

Per Peri Chicken 1The season finale of Looking, HBO’s new gay-boys-in-San Francisco show, left fans hanging. Was it a bad career move for Patrick (Jonathan Groff) to have sex with his boss? Can Agustin (Franki J. Álvarez) reverse his downward spiral of drugs, escorts and tacky art? (A unicorn!) What’s up with Lynn (Scott Bakula) and Dom (Murray Barlett)? Are they just investor and protegé – or something more?  Will the writers please give more story lines to Doris (the brilliant Lauren Weedman)?

Ingredients vegetables
Big questions all. But the most important issue is Dom’s Peri Peri Chicken recipe.  Will it free him from the indignity of being a no-longer-young waiter? Good enough for San Francisco’s gay elite, those well-to-do florists, middle-aged theater producers and gallery owners ready with an arched eyebrow and clever quip.

Will Peri Peri Chicken be the next urgently important culinary sensation?

Peri Peri marinade
Thank goodness season two is being filmed.

vacuum bag chicken
Until then, Spectacularly Delicious has done its researched.  Peri Peri Chicken (or Piri Piri) is an extra-spicy grilled bird marinated for hours in flavors from Africa, Portugal and Peru. It’s darn good chicken.

sous vide bags
This chicken recipe can be prepared in the usual manner (marinate, grill, brush with a glaze).  But it’s even better prepared sous-vide: the marinated chicken is placed in vacuum sealed bags which soak in 165º water for two hours.  By then the chicken is thoroughly cooked all the way to the bone, most and melting, ready to fall off the bone.  All it needs is a few minutes over fiery coals or under a hot broiler to brown and crisp the skin. (Read more about stove top sous-vide technique in these sea trout and roast chicken recipes).

Peri Chicken serving
Peri Peri Chicken
Official “Looking” Inspired Recipe


3 T. butter
3 T. minced cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. Siracha hot sauce
2 T. lemon juice


1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2″ piece ginger, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves
4 Scotch Bonnet peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 T. coriander seeds, cracked
1 t. oregano
1 T. paprika
2 T. vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
Lemon wedges for garnish

Make the glaze: melt the butter in a small pan.  Cook the garlic over medium heat until frangrant and tranlucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and frigerate until needed at the end of preparation.

Make the chicken marinade: All the dry ingredients should be pre-chopped a bit so that they mince down evenly. Into the bowl of a food processor add to the roughly chopped cilantro, shallot, ginger, garlic and peppers. Pulse until reduced to a fine mince.  Add the spices and lemon, juice and oil and process until it forms a chunky paste.

NOTE: Prepare the Scotch Bonnet peppers last, wear gloves, and keep them on until you are done with the marinade.

Marinate for at least four hours or a full day.

To cook the chicken sous-vide: Fill the largest cast iron pot you own with water and heat to 165º – 170º.  Use a thermometer to ensure proper temperature is maintained throughout the cooking process. 

Put the chicken pieces, well-coated in marinade, into individual Ziploc bags. Do not seal the bags. Holding the bags by the corners of the open top, slowly lower them into the hot water.  The weight of the water will push out the air so that the bag vacuum seals around the chicken piece.  When only the lip of the bag remains above the water line, zip closed.  Only the very top of the bag should touch the surface.  The plastic-enclosed chicken will be completely submerged.  Adjust the seals to eliminate any extra air. 

Let the chicken cook in the hot water for at least two hours or up to four hours. The chicken will not overcook because the temperature never exceeds 165º. (See the U.S. Food Safety temperature chart and this recommended sous-vide time and temperature charts. )

When ready to serve, preheat broiler or grill.  Remove the bags from the water. Carefully take the chicken pieces from the bags (they will be very tender). Brush with the reserved glaze and grill or broil for 2 -3 minutes, just until the skin is seared and crisped.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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