I was certain we would see Portugal in the final of the World Cup this year, and had been holding this recipe back to the later stages in anticipation. I had flawless logic too- low expectations would take the pressure off the players, the fact that Brazil is a former colony meaning the language and culture should suit, having Christiano Ronaldo the ‘best player in the world’™ and, not least, because I’m going to Lisbon on my summer holiday!
However, after finishing third in a tough group also including Germany, USA, and Ghana, they failed to even make the knock out stages. It’s not the first World Cup Portugal have gone into with the top player in World football, in 1966 they had Eusebio da Silva Ferreira starring up front as they reached the semi- finals before going out to eventual winners England.
Eusebio is rightly considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, notching up a total of 790 goals in his career, including 41 for the national side. The ‘Black Pearl’ was born in Mozambique to an Angolan father, but since both countries were overseas territories he was only able to play for the ‘Selecao das Quinas’.
Piri-piri is another Portuguese icon which has its roots in Africa. Piri-piri itself is a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers- practically the only Portuguese dish containing chilli, and which tastes delicious with barbecued chicken.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
2 medium pitta breads, toasted, with one long end cut off
Piri piri Marinade:
4 red bird’s eye chilies (or jalapeños if none available)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
60ml port (brandy and whisky also work)
100g frozen peas
1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
2 large mint leaves finely chopped
1 dash lemon juice
To serve: ‘sunshine salad’ of yellow peppers, grated carrot, lettuce, orange and lemon wedges.
1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, and blend until it has a smooth consistency.
1. Butterfly the chicken breasts, then cover with marinade in a shallow bowl and put in fridge for around 1 hour.
2. Cook chicken on hot griddle pan (I’m using my George Foreman grill instead) for around 4 minutes each side until cooked through and some light charring occurs.
3. Compile chicken breast on pitta with some of the sunshine salad and a good squirt of lemon juice. Add some chilli sauce if you are feeling brave!
1. Add peas to pan of boiling water and cook as per guidelines on pack.
2. Meanwhile finely chop the mint and chilli.
3. When cooked add the peas to a bowl, stir in the chili and mint, as well as lemon juice and salt.
4. Stir well, and then lightly ‘mash’ the peas with the back of a fork until they are a little juicy.