Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #14: Piri Piri Chicken

Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #14: Piri Piri Chicken
This is our 14th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. We chose Piri Piri Chicken, Dressed Potatoes, Rocket Salad, and Quick Portugese Tarts. We’d been looking forward to this one for a long time, because who doesn’t like Portuguese custard tarts? Nobody.

Piri Piri Chicken

Substitutions: We couldn’t find yellow peppers/capsicum anywhere (must be out of season), so we just used a single red one. We used just white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar. And the sugar for the tarts was just plain rather than “golden caster”. Other than that, everything was as-written.

Quick verdict: This is the first recipe where I think the time is an outright cheat. We were both working flat-out the whole time and we didn’t come anywhere close to the deadline. Our time was 39:50. (Sure, having everything memorised would save you a couple minutes, but not many.) Also, we found a mistake in the recipe! That was annoying. In terms of flavour, I thought the potatoes were the highlight. I’d never had sweet potatoes done in that way before, and I can see myself repeating it in the future. (The Snook thought it had too much lemon, but he also thinks Jamie tends to go overboard on lemon everywhere anyway.) The chicken was very good, and the tarts turned out surprisingly well (with a couple caveats). The Snook rated the meal overall as 8/10, while I gave it 8.5/10. Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. We needed the blender (aka liquidiser) for this one. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The oven was turned on to 200C. We had a muffin tray for the tarts and a big Pyrex bowl for the potatoes. We also had baking dish for the chicken, a saucepan for the caramel, and a grill pan for the chicken.

First up are the ingredients for the chicken: 4 chicken thighs (skin on and bone in), capsicum and thyme. Note: On the TV show, he clearly cooked 8 chicken thighs, but the recipe only has you do 4. You end up with so much sauce though that I think doing 8 would be better (provided you can fit them all in your grill pan).

Chicken ingredients

Next are the ingredients for the potatoes: 1 potato, 2 sweet potatoes, lemon, red chilli, coriander, and feta. We also have a packet of rocket for the salad.

Potatoes and salad ingredients

Now all the bits for the Piri Piri sauce: red onion, garlic, bird’s-eye chillies, smoked paprika, lemons, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and fresh basil.

Piri Piri sauce ingredients

Ack! Somehow I lost the photo of the dessert ingredients. We had: flour, pre-rolled puff pastry, cinnamon, creme fraiche, an egg, vanilla, sugar, and an orange.


Pots and pans, ready to go! The square grill pan and the Pyrex tray are both for the chicken. The saucepan is for the caramel and the muffin tin is for the tarts.

Pots and pans

The blender and salad spinner are ready to go! We also have a Pyrex bowl and clingfilm ready for the potatoes.

More tools

And we’re off! Snookums started with the chicken thighs. Here he’s slashing the meat before seasoning with olive oil and salt & pepper.

Slashing the chicken thighs

I got stuck into the tarts. I took a 20cm x 20cm piece of puff pastry and sprinkled it all over with cinnamon.

Prepping the pastry

The chicken has gone into the grill pan, skin side down.

Chicken in the grill pan

Here I’ve rolled the puff pastry into a log and now I’m cutting it into six pieces.

Cutting the pastry

Each piece gets “squashed” and put into the muffin tin. Note: He squashed them on the show, but the book doesn’t say to. I think you need to squash.

Squashing the pastry

While the chicken cooks, the Snook prepped the potatoes. They’ve been cut in half and placed in the Pyrex bowl with half a lemon. The whole thing gets covered in clingfilm and put into the microwave for 15 minutes.


Now I’m using my thumbs to stretch out the squashed pastry discs within each muffin hole. It wasn’t too difficult.

Stretching the pastry discs

These then go into the oven for 8 minutes!

Into the oven

Next I made the tart filling using creme fraiche, egg, vanilla, and a bit of sugar. I’m also grating orange zest into it.

Zesting an orange

The Snook has turned over his chicken to reveal beautiful, crispy golden skin!

Flipped chicken

Now he works on the Piri Piri sauce. There are a lot of ingredients to go into the blender, including red onion, garlic, chillis, paprika, lemon zest, and lots of other stuff. Here he’s smushing the garlic to remove the skins.

Smushing garlic

I’ve finished whipping the tart filling. Looks good and smells lovely and orangey!

Tart filling

Time to get the capsicum going. I’ve cut up the red one here. The book says to cut it into strips, but on the show he did chunks. I went with chunks.

Chopped capsicum

The Snook is still going on that Piri Piri sauce. Now he’s adding lemon juice along with vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, water, and a bunch of basil.

More sauce ingredients going in

Okay, so on the show Jamie didn’t put the capsicum into the grill pan until after the chicken came out. But the book clearly says to add them to the pan while the chicken’s still in it. So that’s what I did.

Chicken and capsicum

Time for my tart cases to come out! I’ll admit my face fell when I saw these monstrosities. They were all puffed and wonky and not at all pretty like his on the show. But I persevered. Here I am using a spoon to press the puffed up pastry back against the sides to make room for the filling.

Pressing the cooked pastry back into place

The Snook has whizzed up his Piri Piri sauce. Jamie’s looked more golden; ours was quite brown. We’re not sure why, except maybe our paprika was a bit older.

Piri Piri sauce

The sauce gets poured into the roasting tray.

Sauce into the tray

Here’s the recipe error. See if you can parse this: “Pour the piri piri sauce into a snug-fitting roasting tray. Lay the peppers on top and put aside. Add the chicken to the roasting tray with the sauce. Scatter over the sprigs of thyme, then put the tray into the middle of the oven.” What the hell does that bit about the peppers mean? Put aside WHAT? And then there’s no further mention of the peppers for the rest of the whole recipe. On the show, he did NOT put them into the tray with the chicken, but rather cooked them separately and just put them in the tray at the end. We were confused. In the end, we decided to mimic what he did on the show and left them out of the sauce for now.

Chicken into tray

Now I’m filling my mutant tart cases with the filling. I didn’t want to fill them too high. I ended up with a bit of filling left over. They went back into the oven for 8 more minutes.

Filling the tarts

The chicken (sans peppers) is in the sauce now with some fresh thyme on top. This goes into the oven to finish cooking.

Chicken in sauce

Ding! The microwave is done, and so are our potatoes. They’re steaming here.

Cooked potatoes

The Snook is chopping chilli and coriander for the potatoes. On the show, Jamie did that thing where he mixed everything up on the cutting board and then served it on that. We decided a bowl would suffice for us.

Chopping chilli and coriander

Meanwhile, I washed the rocket. There’s not much to this “salad.”


Time to get the caramel going! Here I’ve got 4 tablespoons of sugar melting in a saucepan along with the juice of the orange.

Orange juice and sugar

The peppers are grilling nicely on their own.


The caramel mixture foams quite a lot until the orange juice water boils away.

Boiling caramel

The Snook has mashed the potatoes with feta and lemon. Aren’t they lovely?

Mashed potatoes

It was time for my tarts to come out of the oven, and I was really pleased to see they’d set. They didn’t look so bad after all!


The caramel had thickened up quite a bit. The recipe doesn’t give you much instruction on it other than “watch it and be careful,” but I thought it looked finished. Here I am very carefully spooning it over the tarts.

Topping with caramel

I had just enough to cover them!

Caramel tarts

The Snook has finished the “salad” with olive oil, salt & pepper, and lemon juice.

Finished salad

Here are the finished potatoes with extra coriander for garnish.

Finished potatoes

The finished chicken has come out of the oven, and it looks good. But see all that extra sauce?

Finished chicken

Here is the finished meal of Piri Piri Chicken with Dressed Potatoes and Rocket Salad.

Finished meal

And here are the beautiful finished tarts!

Finished tarts

Tasting notes: We maybe could’ve backed off on the paprika a bit in the sauce, but other than that, the chicken was very good. We were annoyed about the recipe confusion over the peppers, but it worked out for us anyway (as the Snook doesn’t like them much and was thus able to control his exposure). The potatoes were excellent, though a little extra salt was needed to tone down the lemon. The rocket had far too much lemon, and really it’s just an excuse to put something green on the plate. I know Jamie thinks you need it as a contrast to the chicken, but if we do it again we’ll go a lot lighter on the dressing. Now for the tarts. They were good… but they weren’t anything like any Portuguese custard tarts I’d ever had. The caramel turned out to be a problem. It was incredibly STICKY, and as soon as you bit into one it immediately glued itself to your teeth. It was hard to enjoy the rest of the flavours when you could barely budge your jaw! The filling was less like a custard and more like a sort of a cheesecake, really. Maybe if we’d taken the caramel a bit further so it hardened and shattered that would’ve been better? At any rate, this was a fairly complicated meal with a lot going on, and I really don’t see how you could possibly get it done in under 30 minutes on your own. Yeah, we pause for a few seconds every now and then to take photos, but there’s still two people working in parallel instead of just one. So if you do this one, plan on taking a little more time to get everything just perfect.

Stay tuned for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!


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  1. I’d been curious about this custard tart recipe for a while. I saw Jamie do it on TV an was all like “Dude, you can’t do that to puff pastry!”.

    Do avoid that puff-up, I’d probably dock them (stab repeatedly all over) with a fork. And blow-torch the caramel. Mainly because I like blow-torching anything.

    Well done!

  2. Yeah, Rodd wondered if you could just do a brulee thing on top instead. At least then it would be crispy…

    I may have to try the tarts again. One thing that may have worked against me was that my pastry was frozen, and even though I tried to let it thaw it may not have been as soft as his. I wonder if that would have made a different. And I’d probably do your idea of docking some to see if that helped as well.

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