Piri piri, besides being fun to say, is a great way to liven up your baked chicken and turn it into something special. It’s a particular kind of pepper and has been used in some cuisines for generations. It also made the rounds in fast food places because of its signature spiciness.
You don’t have to seek out actual piri piri peppers to get the spicy flavor we’re looking for here, just go with the small-sized chilies you find locally and look at getting a mix of colors. They’ll provide all of the heat needed, and give the dish a bright and colorful look along with the bell peppers.
The goal here is to get maximum flavor to the dish and for that we’ll use an assortment of ingredients that all have bold flavors. One such ingredient is the sweet smoked paprika. You may have trouble finding this one, and just smoked paprika will be fine, and just regular paprika is alright if you can’t find the smoked kind. You’ll generally find two types of smoked paprika, hot and sweet, and for our purposes here we’re looking for sweet.
Let’s add in some tomatoes so that there’s another flavor dimension plus some added antioxidants in the form of lycopene. By baking the tomatoes along with the chicken you release even more of this powerful antioxidant. What’s cool about Paleo is that you end up getting tons of nutrition without having to force it because so many of the approved foods are superfoods in their own right
Whenever there’s tomatoes it’s a great idea to add in some garlic. For this I use a clove per serving so each bite will have a bit of that garlic flavor to it along with the spiciness from the peppers and paprika. Keep the cloves whole so that garlic lovers can take a bite of baked garlic if they feel like it.
Since we have an assortment of vegetables baking alongside our chicken this is a complete Paleo meal that you can make all at once without the need to make a separate side dish. It’s always nice when things are easy, and this is a meal you can make in just forty minutes from start to finish including baking time.
I’ve made this dish for my friends who didn’t know I was following a Paleo lifestyle and they loved it. It has mass appeal as long as you know they’re a fan of spicy foods. It’s also colorful and the sort of dish you can make all year long whenever you need something to break up the chicken dinner monotony.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, (6 oz each)
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2 small chilies, mixed colors, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt, black pepper to taste
- fresh parsley for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- In a large bowl add the chicken breasts, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, ¼ tsp of black pepper, smoked paprika and ½ tbsp of dried thyme. Gently toss to coat.
- Transfer the chicken in a shallow pan and add the rest of ingredients in the same bowl. Toss to coat and arrange the veggies around chicken. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.