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Milk Street Recipe

Piri Piri Chicken Thighs

50 minutes

Piri Piri Chicken Thighs

Piri-piri can refer to a finger-staining chili pepper sauce—usually spiked with garlic, sugar and plenty of cayenne, lemon and paprika—or to whatever the sauce douses. Its origins are Portuguese, but it's found today in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. To make our version of the tangy-sweet sauce, we use pure New Mexico or California chili powder. If you can't find either, use ¼ cup regular (not smoked) sweet paprika. Avoid standard chili powder, which is a blend of ground chilies and other herbs and spices. Fresno chilies are fresh red chilies similar in size and shape to jalapeños, but with pointy tips. If they are unavailable, fresh cherry peppers are a good substitute. The thighs can be a bit spicy, so we like to serve them with a simple rice pilaf to soak up the heat and sauce, or a cooling cucumber salad. If you have leftovers, shred the meat and make chicken salad with mayonnaise and a dollop of the sauce.

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