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Spicy Slow Cooker Piri Piri Chicken Recipe

chicken with tomato chile piri piri sauce on plates with potatoes
chicken with tomato chile piri piri sauce on plates with potatoes - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

"You control the heat with this savory, slow cooker piri piri chicken dish," says recipe developer Patterson Watkins. While the Portuguese-by-way-of-southern-Africa classic is traditionally made with the piri piri peppers that give it its name, Watkins says you can instead use the chile of your choice for her version of the dish. Watkins uses Fresno peppers, which, with 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units, are about as hot as jalapeños. Piri piris, on the other hand, come in at an incendiary 50,000 to 175,000 Scovilles. If you're not able to get your hands on those, Thai bird's eye chiles are a good substitute, as they're fairly similar in both flavor and heat level.

Unlike the quick grilled piri piri chicken that you might find when traveling in Portugal or southern Africa — or while dining at Nando's (a South African fast food chain favored by Prince Harry), Watkins' version is more akin to a stew. "Whole pieces of tender, bone-in chicken are heartily seasoned with spicy red chiles, garlic, cumin, and paprika, then simmered together with baby potatoes in a stewed tomato-butter base," she describes this easy chicken dinner.

Read more: Cuts Of Steak, Ranked Worst To Best

Collect The Ingredients For Spicy Slow Cooker Piri Piri Chicken

ingredients for spicy chicken piri piri stew
ingredients for spicy chicken piri piri stew - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

The base of this stew is a whole chicken with baby potatoes, stewed tomatoes, and an onion. The flavor comes from red chiles (piri piri or otherwise) along with roasted red peppers, garlic, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and lemon juice. You'll also need butter and olive oil for cooking, as well as lemon wedges and fresh cilantro to garnish the finished dish.

Step 1: Add The Piri Piri Ingredients To A Food Processor

piri piri sauce ingredients in food processor
piri piri sauce ingredients in food processor - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Place roasted peppers, chiles, onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.

Step 2: Blend The Sauce

piri piri sauce ingredients in food processor
piri piri sauce ingredients in food processor - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Blend until smooth, then set the piri piri sauce aside.

Step 3: Dry Off The Chicken

raw chicken pieces on paper towel lined plate
raw chicken pieces on paper towel lined plate - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

Step 4: Season It With Salt And Pepper

seasoned raw chicken pieces on plate
seasoned raw chicken pieces on plate - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Season chicken with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

Step 5: Brown The Chicken On The Stovetop

chicken searing in cast iron pan
chicken searing in cast iron pan - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully add the chicken skin-side down and sear until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Sear The Other Side

chicken searing in cast iron pan
chicken searing in cast iron pan - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Flip and cook the other side for 5 more minutes, until golden.

Step 7: Put The Chicken In The Slow Cooker

chicken in Instant Pot
chicken in Instant Pot - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Transfer the seared chicken to the slow cooker.

Step 8: Add Tomatoes And Piri Piri Sauce

chicken and stewed tomatoes in Instant Pot
chicken and stewed tomatoes in Instant Pot - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Pour in the stewed tomatoes and piri piri sauce.

Step 9: Add Potatoes And Butter

preparing potatoes and butter dish in Instant Pot
preparing potatoes and butter dish in Instant Pot - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Top with potatoes and pats of butter.

Step 10: Cook The Piri Piri Chicken

chicken with tomatoes and potatoes in instant pot
chicken with tomatoes and potatoes in instant pot - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Cover and slow cook on low for 6 hours (or on high for 3 hours), stirring the pot every hour or so, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Step 11: Garnish And Enjoy

piri piri chicken with tomatoes and potatoes on serving platter
piri piri chicken with tomatoes and potatoes on serving platter - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Transfer chicken, potatoes, and sauce to a large serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro before serving.

Do You Need A Crockpot To Make Spicy Slow Cooker Piri Piri Chicken?

piri piri chicken with tomatoes and potatoes on plate
piri piri chicken with tomatoes and potatoes on plate - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

If you don't own a crockpot, AKA a slow cooker, you might think that this recipe isn't for you. However, you're in luck: Watkins herself says she often cooks chicken in the Instant Pot vs. a slow cooker. "Being that my chicken pieces were on the larger side, I opted to sear in a skillet instead of searing and slow cooking all in one pot," she explains.

Better yet, Watkins says you can still cook this piri piri chicken even if you don't have an Instant Pot or crockpot, opting for a large pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop instead. "Just remember that your stovetop cooks things much faster than a slow cooker, so keep an eye on your chicken and rotate the pieces every 20 minutes or so to prevent scorching and to check for doneness," Watkins cautions. Finally, you can also use your oven as a slow cooker — put the piri piri chicken ingredients in an ovenproof pot or baking pan, cover with a lid, and bake at 175-200 F. Check it periodically and add a little water if the contents look dry, and the chicken should be done in about an hour.

What Can You Do With Leftover Spicy Slow Cooker Piri Piri Chicken?

piri piri chicken with tomatoes, lemons, and potatoes on plate
piri piri chicken with tomatoes, lemons, and potatoes on plate - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

If you have leftover piri piri chicken, you should, of course, store it in the refrigerator, but it's best to let it cool down to room temperature first. The leftovers will last for a few days, but you can also freeze them if you need longer storage. If you can't spare the freezer space, Watkins suggests, "I would opt for halving this recipe."

While you can always just microwave the leftover piri piri chicken stew and eat it as-is, it can also be repurposed in other dishes. Watkins says she made "a superb chicken salad" with a portion of her leftovers, while they can also be used as the base for a casserole or to stuff fusion tacos or enchiladas. Other ideas include spooning the chicken over rice or using it to make a spicy chicken pot pie.

Spicy Slow Cooker Piri Piri Chicken Recipe

chicken with tomatoepiri piri chicken with tomatoes, lemons, and potatoes on platess and potatoes
chicken with tomatoepiri piri chicken with tomatoes, lemons, and potatoes on platess and potatoes - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Prep Time: 5mCook Time: 6h 10mYield: 4 servingsIngredients

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers

  • 1-3 red chile peppers, sliced (depending on your spice preference)

  • ½ cup diced yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 whole chicken, quartered

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

  • 1 pound baby yellow potatoes

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pats

  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Place roasted peppers, chiles, onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.

  2. Blend until smooth, then set the piri piri sauce aside.

  3. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

  4. Season chicken with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

  5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully add the chicken skin-side down and sear until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

  6. Flip and cook the other side for 5 more minutes, until golden.

  7. Transfer the seared chicken to the slow cooker.

  8. Pour in the stewed tomatoes and piri piri sauce.

  9. Top with potatoes and pats of butter.

  10. Cover and slow cook on low for 6 hours (or on high for 3 hours), stirring the pot every hour or so, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed.

  11. Transfer chicken, potatoes, and sauce to a large serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro before serving.

Read the original article on Mashed.