How it is that I’ve gone this long without tasting any of Nando’s Peri-Peri sauces, I will never know. But now that this wrong has been righted, I’m definitely a Nando’s convert. I like spicy foods and I like hot sauces but I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur. I always have a supply of a couple different Tabasco sauces on hand (I’ve also tried Texas Pete’s and Louisiana brands but I’ve always been a Tabasco girl), but my pantry hot sauce collection doesn’t usually get much bigger than that other than maybe some Cholula and a mild tomatillo-based green sauce. And of course, there’s the occasional Asian chili paste and I am now always fully stocked with Italian chili paste (crema di peperoncino). But really, considering the variety of hot sauces available in this world, my tiny collection doesn’t even scratch the surface.
I had never even heard of the Peri-Peri pepper (also known as the Pili Pili, Piri-Piri or African bird’s eye pepper). My chili pepper knowledge just doesn’t really go beyond jalapeños, habañeros and the Italian peperoncini that I’ve become totally addicted to since living in Southern Italy. But now that I’ve tasted a few of Nando’s sauces, I want more Peri-Peri! I’m curious to know how many of you are already using Nando’s sauces or perhaps have even eaten at the restaurants. Apparently I’m one of the few who had never heard of Nando’s! I mean Oprah, Ricky Gervais, and Nelson Mandela are all fans…where have I been?? Oh yeah, in Sicily. :-)
But if you haven’t yet tried the sauces, it seems that they are widely available in stores. The Nando’s Web site has a nifty little store finder to help you find one close to you. And if, like me, you can’t get the stuff in a store, the sauces can easily be ordered online!
So, here’s what happened. I got a nice e-mail from Dave over at Nando’s Peri-Peri asking me if I would like to taste some of their sauces and maybe review them on Pinch My Salt. At first I was a little skeptical of accepting the free sauces. I was torn between really really wanting to get free stuff in the mail and not wanting to feel obligated to write a review for a product that I might not even like. So, I didn’t respond at first. But then I did a little research on the Peri-Peri pepper and finally curiosity got the better of me. I wrote to Dave and told him that I would love to try some of the sauces but that I wouldn’t review them unless I was really impressed with the product. Dilemma solved.
When I got the package in the mail, I was excited to see that I received not one but three different sauces to try! One was a big jar of Roasted Red Pepper Cooking Sauce (mild), one jar of Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce (medium), and a jar of Peri-Peri Marinade (hot). I wasn’t so sure about the cooking sauce and marinade because I’ve tried to get away from store bought sauces but when I opened the jars and tasted each one, I must say that I was really impressed with all three!
So, here’s my review for all of the Nando’s sauces: YUM! Go get some now!
Ok, now that the review part is out of the way, let’s move on to what I do best…creating recipes, cooking, and eating!
A very strange thing happened in the moment I tasted the Roasted Red Pepper Cooking Sauce, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I think it was the first time that a single taste of a new ingredient instantly inspired an entire recipe! I immediately knew this slightly sweet, slightly spicy, mouth-wateringly tangy sauce would taste great on a pizza and I knew for certain that the pizza should be covered with cheese, grilled chicken, pineapple, and fresh cilantro. I just knew.
I don’t make pizza at home very often because I live in Sicily and I can go out and get really good pizza anytime I feel like it. Since I don’t have a wood-fired pizza oven, nothing I make at home will compare to the pizza here I can get here. But this pizza would be different. I wouldn’t be trying to replicate a Sicilian pizza. It would be my very own Nando’s Grilled Chicken Pizza and I couldn’t wait to taste it!
For the pizza dough, my trusted recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It uses both white and whole wheat flours and I think the flavor is the best of any pizza dough I’ve tried. For the grilled chicken, I marinated chicken breasts in Nando’s Hot Marinade before grilling them. I would have preferred to grill some fresh pineapple for this pizza but the pineapple at the store near me was just too expensive. Crushed pineapple worked fine (make sure to drain it well) but I will definitely try grilling some pineapple next time.
I have a pizza/baking stone in my oven and I highly recommend using one if you want great pizza from home. Put the stone on the bottom shelf in your oven and preheat it to 500 degrees. With the stone, you need to allow lots more time for the oven to come to temperature. I usually let it preheat for a full hour. And if you’re going to use a baking stone, you’d better invest in a baker’s peel too! Ok, now you’re ready to bake some pizza!
Nando’s Spicy Grilled Chicken Breasts:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a uniform thickness
- Nando’s Peri Peri Hot Marinade
- fresh ground pepper
Place chicken in a shallow container and pour on enough marinade to evenly coat all sides of the chicken pieces. They don’t have to be swimming in marinade, just make sure all pieces are coated on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. Preheat grill. Remove excess marinade from chicken pieces, season both sides with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place chicken over direct medium heat and cook about 6 minutes per side or until thoroughly cooked. Remove to a platter and let cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into bite size pieces and set aside for use on pizza or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1 1/2 C. warm water (NOT hot water)
- 2 t. active dry yeast (I use instant yeast)
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 C. whole wheat flour
- 3 C. all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading
In a medium bowl, mix yeast with the cup of whole wheat flour. Add water and oil and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, stir salt into the remaining flour and then add flour to the wet mixture, a little at a time, stirring, until a shaggy dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter or board and knead with well-floured hands until smooth (about 5 minutes should do it). The dough will be sticky but try not to add too much extra flour, a moist dough will result in a lighter crust.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl and turn once to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a towel and set aside in a slightly warm place (on top of the fridge is usually good) for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a counter and cut into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, place them on a lightly floured surface, then cover with a towel. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
Shape the dough: Place a large piece of parchment paper on your work surface and dust it lightly with flour. Working with one piece at a time, and using floured hands, press the dough into a disc and then starting from the center, push the dough out using your fingers and the heel of your palm, trying to keep the circle as uniform as possible. Make sure the dough is not sticking too much by lifting and turning it occasionally and sprinkling extra flour as needed. Flatten dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick (or even thinner if you can manage it). Make sure to leave a rim along the outside that is slightly thicker than the middle. You should end up with a pizza that is approximately 10” in diameter.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes before adding the toppings. Start rolling out your next crust while the first one is resting. If you are not planning on using all four crusts, wrap the extras loosely in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to use it the next day, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. If you want to store the dough longer than overnight, wrap it well and freeze it.
- Nando’s Peri-Peri Roasted Reds Cooking Sauce
- Nando’s spicy grilled chicken breasts, chopped
- Crushed pineapple, drained well
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
Now for the fun part! The amount of toppings is completely up to you:
Spread a few spoonfuls of Nando’s Peri-Peri Roasted Reds Cooking Sauce evenly over the pizza dough. Next, sprinkle drained crushed pineapple over the sauce. Add shredded mozzarella and cheddar, chopped grilled chicken, and a little more pineapple. Top with a few extra sprinklings of cheese.
Slide pizza peel under the parchment paper and then slide pizza and parchment directly onto a hot baking stone in a preheated 500 degree oven. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until crust is very well browned and pizza is bubbly.
Sprinkle fresh chopped cilantro liberally over the pizza, then cut and serve!
I would like to thank Nando’s for giving me the chance to try out these wonderful sauces! My next post will feature one more Nando’s recipe…Honey Garlic Wings featuring Nando’s Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce so stay tuned for part two! But until then, you can check out a couple other Nando’s reviews by my friends Curt over at Bucky’s Barbecue Blog who tried out the sauces with some smoked chicken thighs, and Kristen at Dine and Dish, who reviewed Nando’s Curry Coconut Sauce…YUM!