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How To Make Piri Piri Chicken With Aaron Crowder of Cervo’s


-How many of these have I done?
-Yeah. -Thousands. We cook them every night
over and over again, which means
we cut chickens everyday. ♪♪ ♪♪ My name is Aaron Crowder, I’m the chef of Cervo’s
in New York City, and we’re gonna
make piri piri chicken. The first thing we’re gonna do
is break down the chicken. We’re gonna move any, like,
extraneous fat so we don’t have to worry
about it later. I take the wings off
because we cook it on cast iron, and it just won’t cook
very evenly if we have it. Remove one side at a time by making an incision
down the center. I’m just gonna turn the chicken
as I need to. I’ve removed the breast,
and I’m just gonna fold it over so I can really easily get to
the oyster, which is back here. People say it’s the best part. And then cut down. Remove the bones. It’s gonna flatten the meat out and it’s gonna make it one
even piece. It’s gonna cook really,
really evenly. I’m going to stick my finger
underneath the bone, bring my knife out,
and cut out. Doing the same thing
on the other side. Stick my finger through,
cut out. Find the first cartilage
and make a little incision, and do the same on this side. If you’re not comfortable
taking the bone out, you can absolutely ask
your butcher to do it. Just ask for a half chicken, fully deboned
except for the wing. I’m sure they could do that
for you very easily. Bones for chicken stock. And then you have a deboned
chicken breast and thigh and leg. [ Chuckles ] So, now we’re gonna make
the paste, which is the base
of the piri piri sauce. We have really amazing
tomato paste, some dried coriander that
we’re gonna smash up in here, a mix of paprikas —
sweet, hot, and smoked — piri piri chili —
it’s an African chili. It’s a really, really spicy
chili and a little smoky. I’m gonna put about 10 of them
in here. If you can’t find
piri piri chili, you can use
any sort of spicy chili. Fermented piri piri chilies,
pickled piri piri chili. So we have all these things
in here. We’re just gonna mix it up,
smash it up. If you don’t smash
those coriander seeds, it’s totally fine. They’re gonna soften when
we cook them in the chicken stock later. I like it because you also have
little explosions of coriander when you eat it if they’re
not totally broken down. Piri piri chili,
if you ask Portuguese people
where it’s from, they say it’s from Portugal,
but we all know that’s not true. It’s an African chili. The smell coming from this
right now is pretty strong. It may make you sneeze. It’s spicy,
but it’s also really sweet. And the sweetness is coming
from the tomato paste, but also sweetness
coming from this chili oil that gets really sweet
when it caramelizes in that oil. So we have a paste right here. So, now we’re gonna season
the chicken. The first thing I’m gonna
put on is salt, the paprika. I’m gonna put a little lemon
zest on there. Olive oil. And flip. We’re gonna season
just the skin side with salt. Now that we’ve made the paste,
we’re going to build the sauce. Start to get some onions diced. Yeah, the sharper the knife,
the less tears you’ll have. I’m gonna just make some
really fast, simple cuts
against the grain. This dice doesn’t need
to be perfect ’cause we’re gonna sweat it. And then we’re gonna go
the opposite way. I like to just Microplane
some garlic into here. ♪♪ Olive oil. I’m gonna start to cook this
until it toasts. Takes a little bit of time. Okay, so I’m gonna add onions, and I’m gonna turn down
the heat, probably, like, a little
less than half strength. We have this neighbor of ours who is some sort of, like,
fashion designer. Within the first couple months
of us being open, she came one day, she’s like,
“Hi, my studio’s next door, and I don’t know what to do, but I can’t handle the smell
of your restaurant.” She basically said that, like,
it smells so much like onions and garlic, that all
of her clothes smelled like it. -Oh, man.
-She was disturbed by it. She was like, “None of the other
restaurants smell like this,” and, like — We cook a lot. So, the chili paste that we made
earlier is gonna go in the pan. And as soon as it does,
we want to start to break it up. I’m gonna add a little bit
of oil. Once we make this sauce,
it’s gonna sit on top. It’s pretty rustic,
and we want there to be, like, dirty red oil on top. I’m gonna taste it. Yeah, that’s spicy. Last thing…
[ Clears throat ] Whoof!
Sheesh! …lemon peels and bay leaf, and then we’re gonna
deglaze this with wine. So we’ve cooked the wine out, and then we’re just gonna
add chicken stock. Once we have our sauce going, we’re gonna reduce it
probably by half, so that takes
a little bit of time, maybe 15, 20 minutes. So we’re just going to
put it to the side and then work
on roasting our chicken. We’re gonna let the oil get hot
to where it starts to smoke. I’m gonna make sure that
the skin of this chicken is covering completely
all of the flesh, once you do, you’re gonna
lay down the chicken into the hot pan carefully. And turn it down
as soon as you can. We’re gonna cook this
on the skin side for close to 20 minutes. I like to put a little bit
of weight on the chicken. The easiest thing
was another pan. Or two pans. You’re gonna flatten the skin
out a little bit, you’re also gonna press it. It’s gonna get really even. And you’re also actually
heating up that top pan
after a little bit, and it’s gonna cook
from the other side, as well. We’re gonna make aioli for the
French fries and for the chicken. The first thing that we’re
gonna do is crack the eggs, separating the egg white
from the egg yolk. For this amount,
we’re gonna do two yolks. Lemon juice, we’re gonna add
salt, and one clove of garlic. And we’re gonna mix this up,
and we’re gonna really slowly incorporate one-to-one ratio
canola oil and olive oil. So first canola oil. We go olive oil now. I just want to go until
it’s thick enough for me to pick it up and it not drip ’cause I want to get as much
on the fries as I possibly can because I love mayonnaise. Duke’s, I’m definitely allegiant
to it because of being from the South. I couldn’t even tell you
what the taste difference is. And then we can adjust with
salt and lemon if we need. Nailed it.
-[ Laughs ] -Our sauce is reduced. It’s gotten pretty thick. The last ingredient that’s gonna
go in there is sherry vinegar. Next move is we’re gonna
check on our chicken. Take the weights off. And we have a chicken which
is cooked probably, like, 90% through
all on that skin side. I can just feel it and know
that it’s pretty cooked. Turning off my heat. And really quickly,
I’m just going to flip it. I’m not gonna cook it on that
other side at all. It’s pretty much cooked. I always finish it with a little
fresh olive oil and then a big squeeze
of lemon, and all of this juice that’s in this pan
is also gonna go on our plate. You’re just gonna let it sit
in this pan, no heat, for six, seven minutes
before serving. We don’t want it
to be extremely hot, but we want to be able to
really eat it at this point. We’ve cooked this really slowly
and the skin has gotten crispy and then we squeezed
lemon onto it, which is kind of counter
intuitive to some people. I’m not really so concerned
that it’s crispy. I think the flavor that comes
from that once crispy chicken
is also really, really tasty. It’s like a chicken wing
that’s been fried and then covered in sauce. At the restaurant
we call it wet fry. We’re just gonna plate it up. So we have the half chicken,
still warm. We have all of these leftover
resting drippings. Next, we have our piri
piri sauce. We have fries. Big pile here. We have our aioli that we made. We’re gonna finish it with
a little fresh olive oil just on the chicken,
and a little bit more piri piri. It’s nicely cooked, you can
taste the sherry vinegar, lots of olive oil on it. Piri piri chicken with
French fries from Cervo’s in New York City. For the recipe, click the link
in the description below. ♪♪ ♪♪

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