Fit Food/Get Saucy: Piri Piri Chicken - Flecks of Lex

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Fit Food/Get Saucy: Piri Piri Chicken

I've done a little bit of reading on piri piri (or peri peri -- depends on who you're talking to) peppers. I like spice in my food, but not enough that the food loses its flavor. Sometimes a dash of cayenne pepper can enhance the flavor of a dish, without making it spicy. Some people believe that it can even help you burn calories more quickly.
"While hot red pepper has been studied before as an appetite suppressant, this study was notable in that it compared people who liked spicy food with those who did not. At various times, diners were given a bowl of tomato soup laced with a half teaspoon of pepper, plain tomato soup, or plain tomato soup with a supplement of red pepper in pill form.
The effect was greater among diners who didn’t regularly consume spicy meals. Among that group, adding red pepper to the soup was associated with eating an average of 60 fewer calories at the next meal compared with when they ate plain soup. For both groups who ate red pepper in food, the spice also appeared to increase the metabolism and cause the body to burn an extra 10 calories on its own." - New York Times Well Blog


But, back to the piri piri pepper. What the heck is it? Well, according to Wikipedia, it is one of the sources of chili pepper, and it grows both wild and domesticated. The coolest thing about it? It's also called the African bird's eye chili. BIRD'S EYE! I wish I had known this when I was on the hunt for it at Whole Foods last night, since the completely unhelpful staff kept giving me the stink eye when I was asking for the sauce. They actually had bird's eye chili peppers, which freaked me out before I clearly read the package/looked at what was in the jar. "Bird's eyes?! OMGGGGGGG!!!!!!!"

So, I had this craving for the pepper immediately following kickboxing class last night. I was on the hunt for it, and, as aforementioned, had an impossible time at Whole Foods. Fortunately, we have a Nando's Peri-Peri in my area, so I was able to walk over there and pay double for a small bottle of sauce. (Seriously, they're charging half the price for the same exact bottle over at Target.) Oh no! I just looked online and saw that they charged me more in the store than if I'd bought it online! Shock! Horror! JK. I'm not shocked. And yes, I'm currently giving you the side eye, NANDO.

After I found the most sought-after sauce in America (or, ya know, Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring), I was ready to get my cook and eat on!

Unfortunately, while the sauce has 0 calories, it also seems to have 0.5 grams of flavor. I had to add my own flavors to the chicken, but it ended up delicious. I put it over rice/red quinoa that I mixed with a little shredded carrot and peas.  Here's my recipe:

Chicken with Piri Piri Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Piri piri sauce (I used Nando's Medium Peri Peri Sauce, which was 4 oz)
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp Onion powder (I only used it because it turned out I had no onion)
  • 1/8 tsp Oregano
  • 1/8 tsp Paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat over to 375.
  2. Cut chicken into chunks/cubes. These can be as big or small as you prefer.
  3. Chop celery into small pieces.
  4. Place chicken and celery into a baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle a dash of salt and black pepper over chicken and celery combo.
  6. Pour half the bottle of piri piri sauce over the chicken and celery. *NBD. That's only like 2 oz, and it doesn't have any calories!
  7. Add remaining seasonings to the mixture. 
  8. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Check chicken after 15 minutes. *You may wish to add another little bit of piri piri sauce at the 10-minute mark if you like a little extra kick.*
  9. Grab a glass of water, and enjoy!
Note: Feel free to add any extra spices you might like. The piri piri sauce really can't stand alone. You'll want more flavor. I know I did!

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