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What Are Peri Peri Chicken Livers?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 17, 2024
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Peri peri chicken livers are an African appetizer with a Portuguese twist. Chicken livers are marinated or cooked in a spicy chili sauce, normally using piri piri chilies. The dish is usually served with or on bread and often accompanied by a green salad.

As the name suggests, chicken livers are essential to peri peri chicken livers. The livers are seasoned with spices and, usually, brandy or wine, and cooked with onions. Some versions will marinade the livers before use and others will simply cook them with the sauce. The livers should be cleaned and trimmed before they are added to the dish and may be halved or sliced into smaller pieces.

Spices used in peri peri chicken livers may include cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Red pepper flakes, cloves, or bay leaves may also be added. Chili peppers may be chopped and added for seasoning, and garlic or tomato paste is often used for flavoring as well. Peri peri chili powder or sauce is also usually included. This powder or sauce is made from the piri piri chili, an extremely spicy type of pepper.

If a marinade is used, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil are also usually included. The marinade will add some of the spices, such as coriander, and herbs like garlic as well. The ingredients are simply mixed together, and then the livers are marinated for at least two hours. The marinade is reserved for use in the sauce.

Whether or not a marinade is created, a sauce is made, normally while the livers are being cooked. First, the onions are sauteed. Usually both olive oil and butter are used, but sometimes just oil is used. When the onions are translucent, the livers are added. Then, the other spices and seasonings are included. Once the mixture has simmered, the brandy or wine is poured in and simmered as well.

Sometimes whipping cream is added with the alcohol and mixed into the sauce as it simmers. If a marinade is used, it is normally added with the spices and seasonings. Once the dish is cooked, it can be garnished with chopped coriander, bay leaves, or another spice. Peri peri chicken livers may be served with crusty bread on the side but is more often served on the bread or even between a sliced rustic roll. A green salad, frequently topped with a garlic flavored dressing, is commonly served alongside the dish.

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