or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › need some advice on a better half piri piri chicken
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

need some advice on a better half piri piri chicken

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have posted this on purpose in the food & cooking section as I value all input from the home cooks as well as the professionals on this forum :)

 

I am looking for some help with my piri piri chicken recipe.

It is liked well enough by our clients, but I feel it could be a lot better.

 

We have a couple of limitations in the way we have to work here as we do not have a lot of fridge space, but quite a lot of freezer space, and a very irregular clientele. We tell everyone we need 45-60 minutes from order to service, which everyone finds pretty ok as they are here on holiday anyway.

But it does mean that that is all the time we have, so we don’t have enough time to defrost a whole chicken, marinate it and then cook it. We have to do part in advance.

 

We are also far away from the shops and in a pretty hot climate.

 

Our basic procedure at the moment is as follows:

We buy frozen chickens, defrost what we need (in the fridge) and marinate them (also in the fridge). We then cook them in the oven (covered, so they don’t dry out) then freeze them again.

When clients order chicken, we defrost them under cold running water and heat them through in the oven.

 

One of my issues is that the marinade/spices are fine on the outside of the chicken, but a bit bland on the inside. I could try injecting the chickens with the marinade?

 

I can also change the defrosting method from defrosting under cold water to defrosting in a steamer (after all, the chicken is already cooked through) and then finish off under the grill? This might prevent run-off of the marinade when defrosting under running water

 

Or cook them on the bbq when we do our initial prep (unfortunately we can’t do it to finish the chicken as it takes too long to fire up the bbq and it’s a bit of a waste if we only have an order for 1 half chicken.

 

Or what else?

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #2 of 5

What a challenging question, Butzy! Maybe it's good to mention for people who don't know it yet, that you're in a lodge in Zambezi, Africa, and probably have to adapt to limitations of all kinds?

 

I'm not a pro, but for what it's worth, personally I would defrost the chickens, half them first, then poach these halfs for around 20 minutes, then pack them and freeze. You can process many more half chickens in one time than whole ones, and, half chickens take much less space in your freezer. Secondly, the technique of poaching (mi-cuit), plus finishing under a grill or even in a frying pan, is very common to keep the maximum of moist in the chicken. It's often done with supprêmes aka chicken breasts, to be used in salads.

 

When a client orders, my suggestion would be to put the frozen pre-poached chicken again in boiling water and poach again until it's completely defrosted, probably around 15-20 minutes? Then add your spices and grill the chicken. The grilling will take only a few minutes. You should still have a perfectly moist chicken.

Personally, I would use tandoori masala just before the grilling instead of piri piri. The tandoori gives a nice red-ish color, a little heat that everybody will like and an incredible taste.

BTW, I used tandoori masala in the dish I posted in the BBQ challenge http://www.cheftalk.com/t/80619/may-2014-challenge-bbq-and-grilling/120#post_470148 if you like to see what color the tandoori massala leaves. (It's the meat on top with a chunk of fresh pine-apple).

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chris,

Indeed, I am in Zambia, close to the border with Zimbabwe which poses a bit of a challenge at times.

We have a couple of half chickens on the menu (lemon & herb is the other one). Piri piri chicken is very popular here due to the proximity to Mozambique. I like your tandoori idea as well and it's not a problem to add another flavour chicken to the menu as soon as I get the marinades right (If I can do one properly, then certainly the others shouldn't take too much adjustments).

 

We do half the chickens before cooking them in the oven (pretty similar to poaching as they are in the marinade mixture). I forgot to add that to the story above.

 

The main problem is the penetration of the marinade. It's not so much an issue with the lemon & herb chickens as it is with the spicy piri piri ones. I assume because the difference with the spicy outside and mild inside of the piri piri chicken is much bigger than with the lemon & herb one.

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #4 of 5

I have another idea on how to let the marinade penetrate much deeper into chicken meat. But, perhaps some of the professional chefs around here have an alternative? Your question must be an open invitation for the pro-chefs here to dig into their skills and creativity?

 

My suggestion might be to make a lot of cuts in the chicken to make the spices go deeper into the meat. I saw that done by cooks in India, but, they use chicken parts instead of whole or halved chickens, which were cooked after marinating in the classic tandoori-masala-and-yoghurt mixture.

Since I saw that, I also make those cuts when roasting chicken parts like in the following picture. It shortens the cooking time but also makes the spices penetrate deeper. Maybe something to try out on halved chickens? I'm not sure if it will look nice?

In the following picture, I used Spanish smoked paprika powder (pimentón) and coarse dried lemon powder to sprinkle on the chicken, cooked in a hot oven on a bed of potato, carrot, etc. You can clearly see the cuts in the meat.

 

Roasted chicken 2

 

Roasted chicken 3

 

Roasted chicken 4

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chris,

We do make cuts in the meat. Forgot to mention that as well. We also flatten the half chickens by applying some firm pressure on the chest bone.

I am going to try and get the marinade a bit better under the skin and will do some experimenting with heating them up. The defrosting process might have something to do with it, so will make one of our usual piri piri chickens and eat it without freezing it again. At least that way I can pinpoint the problem.

Again, all clients seem to like it, maybe it's just me who's a bit too fussy!

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › need some advice on a better half piri piri chicken