Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chicken Piri Piri

Well, we have been going through some rough times here at the Lubitz house. I hate to say the obvious, but when the goin' gets tough, I get to eatin'... and in this case, cooking and eating. Not to mention I am always looking for fun ways to use our CSA groceries. For this recipe, I was able to use our fresh farm cilantro and also some of the delicious feta cheese we got from La Finquita last week.

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with my good friend Dana at Marco's Cafe in Multnomah Village. Marco's has some really tasty dishes. I ordered the Spicy Chicken Piri Piri Sandwich. The description read "grilled chicken breast wrapped in a pita with a spicy red chili, citrus, cilantro and honey glaze, cranberry chutney, watercress and cucumber". I asked for a side of their feta dill dressing to help with the spice. Well, the darn thing was not spicy at all. It was delicious, but I was a little disappointed. I decided to try and recreate the dish at home, more the way I had expected it to be.

I did a little research on Piri-Piri Sauce which apparently has Portuguese and African origins. I looked up a few recipes and then added some of the ingredients that had been listed on the Marco's menu. My version of the Piri Piri Marinade Recipe goes something like this:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 Tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 Tablespoons honey

I marinated 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the sauce for about 6 hours although there is probably enough marinade for 8 breasts. I baked the chicken breasts at 375 degrees for 40 minutes in a Pyrex baking dish, spooning some but not all of the marinade over the chicken before baking. While the chicken bakes, the marinade cooks into a nice sticky sauce in the pan. I then sliced the chicken breasts right in the baking dish and tossed the chicken to coat with the sauce in the pan.

Before assembling the sandwiches, I prepared some feta yogurt dip using fresh feta from La Finquita:

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or dill)
1 Tablespoon honey

We could not find cranberry chutney at the grocery store (although I will keep searching) and since the marinade was already a little sweet, we left it out. I also completely forgot about the cucumbers although that would have been a great addition and makes me want to go make this recipe all over again.

I used Greek Pita for the bread which is one of my favorite things. It's a big flat thick pita. I grilled the pita in a non-stick frying pan for a minute or so on each side to get it warm and pliable.

I assembled the sandwiches by loading half the pita with the Chicken Piri Piri. I then topped it with the feta yogurt dip and topped that with a nice handful of watercress, which is supposed to be very good for you.

Once it was assembled, we folded it over...

took a bite...

and then took another bite...

Even without cranberry chutney and cucumber, these sandwiches were a big hit.


Laura K said...

Looks yummy! I get my first CSA box tomorrow. I am very excited about what I might find!

kjlubitz said...

How exciting. We are on our 8th week and it has been fun so far. Lots of soups with greens at the beginning. I love searching out new recipes. Also, they recently added two kinds of goat cheese--chevre and feta, which we love! Can't wait to hear what you get and what you make :).