Grilled Organic Piri Piri Chicken


Executive chef Mark Lietzke of the Country Club of Hilton Head on Hilton Head Island, S.C., likes to serve his spicy, smoky flavored Portuguese-style grilled chicken skewers over a spinach, pear, and fig salad with grapefruit vinaigrette. Invigorating! 

10 fresh piri piri peppers (or other small red chilies, such as jalapeño, pequin, or tabasco peppers)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
zest of 1 lime
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds skinless, boneless organic chicken thighs
12 6-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water overnight
Spinach, Pear, and Fig Salad (recipe follows)

In a food processor, puree the red chilies, smoked paprika, lime zest, and garlic until smooth. Add the lime juice, cilantro, parsley, and salt. Pulse to combine. With the processor on, slowly stream the olive oil into the mixture. Reserve 1/4 cup of this marinade to baste the chicken. Pour the remaining marinade in a large bowl. 

Cut the chicken thighs into 2-inch pieces. Marinate the chicken in the bowl of marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread on the bamboo skewers.

Heat a grill to high. Prep with nonstick spray. Place the chicken skewers on the hot grill for 2 minutes on each side. Cook 8 to 10 minutes more, turning every 2 minutes and basting occasionally with the reserved piri piri marinade.

Serve with Spinach, Pear, and Fig Salad.

Yield: 6 servings



1 large Asian pear, peeled and diced
3 cups spinach
1 cup fresh corn, roasted and removed from the cob
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
4 figs, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the diced pears, spinach, corn, onion, and figs. In a jar, combine the olive oil, grapefruit juice, and pepper, and shake until incorporated. 

When ready to serve, add the vinaigrette to the salad and gently toss.

CHEF’S TIP: “Let the grill heat up at least 30 minutes before placing anything on it. The hotter the grill, the better the grill marks, which help seal all the natural juices into the meat.”


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