Spatchcock Chicken Prego

There’s nothing quite like a juicy roast chicken, whether basted in hot lemony butter or marinated overnight for more complexity. Over the past 7 years I’ve shared plenty of roast chicken recipes here on the blog, most of which have been amongst the most loved recipes at your table, and mine. I think this Spatchcock Prego Chicken is worth adding to the favourite chicken recipes list. KFC knew a thing or two about chicken when the coined – finger-licking good.

The secret to a great Prego Sauce

Flavour and heat. For this prego sauce recipe, roasting the red peppers and garlic does wonders to intensify the depth of flavour. I wrap the garlic in several layers of foil and add it to the tray along with the peppers. Scorching or blackening is ideal, so don’t pick off too much of those charred edges. To balance any acidity and encourage caramelisation, a squidge of honey or maple syrup helps things along nicely. Although not authentically Portuguese, it’s these little nuances that enliven and breathe new life into food. Depending on the level of heat you’re after, adjust the amount and type of chillis you use.

Spatchcock Chicken Prego

Roasting your Prego Chicken

Spatchcocking the bird isn’t half as gruesome as it may sound. For first time spatch-cockers, sit the bird on its bottom and cut decisively down on either side of the backbone. Twist off the centre piece and use for stock or chicken soup, if you’re feeling savvy. Turn the chicken over and press down firmly in the centre to flatten. The upside to spatchcocking the chicken is a shorter roasting time, but more importantly, ensuring the prego paste permeates ever nook and cranny.

It goes without saying that if you’re eating the skin, it needs to be rendered and crisp. Once the cooking time is up, turn the oven onto grill or broil and slide the tray up a notch. Give the chicken as much time under the direct heat as it needs to blister. If you’re grilling over the coals, remember to baste and turn regularly.

Cook’s Note: The Chicken Prego sauce makes enough for 2 chickens. Store the remaining sauce in a sterilised jar in the fridge for 7-10 days. 

Spatchcock Chicken Prego


Spatchcock Chicken Prego
Prego Sauce

Makes enough for 2 chickens

  • 2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, wrapped in foil
  • 4 -5 dried red chillis
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) smoked paprika
  • 7.5ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil, plus extra for roasting
  • lemon cheeks, to serve
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Arrange the peppers on a roasting tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season lightly with salt. Toss to coat and turn skin side facing up. Add the garlic to the tray and roast until blistered, about 45-50 minutes. Cover the peppers with a foil tent and sweat to loosen the skins, about 10 minutes. Peel the skins off the peppers and press out the soft garlic flesh.

In the meantime, place the chillis in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften for about 15 minutes. Remove the seeds of half the chillis  if you prefer a milder heat. Add all the ingredients, including the roast peppers and garlic, to a food processor. Blitz until smooth.

Rub half the prego paste over the chicken. Place in a non-metallic dish, cover and set aside to marinade for 1 hour, or overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Season the chicken lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a roasting tin and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes. Baste with pan sauces, then roast for another 25-30 minutes, or until juices run clear when piercing between the leg and thigh. Cover and rest for about 8 minutes before carving. Serve with lemon cheeks and crispy potato wedges.


For more of those Best chicken recipes, here’s where to go:

Sticky honey and soy chicken drumsticks

Chakalaka marinated roast chicken

Chinese mandarin chicken tray bake





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