Honey-Paprika Grilled Chicken

This recipe has its origins in one from Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food. I first made it when I bought the book in 1992, a fact which shocks me somewhat, that's twenty-two years ago for heaven's sake. Despite it being so long ago I have a very clear memory of buying this book. It was in WH Smith's in Birmingham, I can picture where the book was on the shelf when I picked it up and flicked through it. I was immediately drawn to the friendly, informal style of writing and the delicious-sounding recipes all of which seemed so easy to throw together at the end of a working day. I liked the fact that the recipes were mostly for two people as that was exactly what I needed then. I knew very quickly that the book was coming home with me despite its price tag of £14.99 (which according to this site is worth about £27 today).

Over the years I have made a few changes. I swapped the chillies and cayenne for smoked paprika (I don't think this was around back in 1992) and I have increased the quantities to feed five rather than two. My most recent change is to keep the chicken breasts whole just because five pieces of chicken cut up into small chunks is a bit of a fiddle to keep turning over on a grill. Sometimes I use a cast iron griddle to cook this which makes for a delicious barbecue flavour, but more often I put the chicken under the oven's grill which means a much easier clean-up and is still delicious especially if you let it char a bit. Nigel serves his chicken stuffed into pitta bread. I'm not as enamoured of pitta bread now as I was back then so I serve it with rice. I always make the mint and yogurt sauce to accompany it though, usually with cucumber added, and I always have lots of it leftover because I am the only one who likes mint and yogurt.

This recipe is very popular with children and teenagers, and husbands. It's pretty healthy too, in fact I think it is probably gluten-free, dairy free (minus the yogurt sauce) low carb, paleo and clean eating. If you care about such things.

Honey-Paprika Grilled Chicken
adapted from Nigel Slater's Chilli Chicken Pitta

Note: you need to allow at least  one hour for marinating the chicken.
Also a food processor makes this a breeze although a stick blender or a strong arm and a knife will do.

Serves 4 - 6

First take 1 boneless chicken breast or 2 chicken thighs per person.
Put the chicken between two pieces of cling film and bash it with a rolling pin or other club-like instrument until they are about 1cm thick. This is to tenderize the chicken and to speed up cooking plus it's really satisfying. Set the chicken aside in a dish which will take all the chicken in one layer, more or less.

For the marinade place all of the following ingredients in a food processor and blend to a slushy orange paste.
1 medium sized onion, chopped into chunks
4 cloves of garlic, sliced (less if that's too much for you)
6 tablespoons of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of clear honey
juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
Pour the marinade over the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.

When you are ready to cook get your grill as hot as hot. Line the grill pan with foil to make washing up easier. Lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and put them on the rack and grill for 8-10 minutes turning once. Be sure to let it blacken a bit here and there, yum.

Serve with rice or flat-breads and a sauce of plain yogurt mixed with grated cucumber and chopped mint. A salad of grated carrot is also a good addition to this feast.



  1. Twenty two years! I had no idea he'd been on our shelves that long. I had little children then. The one who is about to become a father himself has just been to supper with us.

  2. Fab recipes from Nigel Slater, love the photos, it looks great....it's certainly going to be tried out here xx

  3. Going to try this yummm and thank you sue

  4. That's one of the few Nigel books I don't own. The recipe looks nice and easy though... And I'm the only one who likes the mint and yogurt thing too. Enough to make it whenever we have spicy chicken (it's also good with onion bhajis and the like).
    It never fails to horrify me how long ago the Nineties actually were when they seem so recent. I try not to think about it.

  5. Lovely recipe - thank you. And thanks for the link to the money-equivalent site. I've just looked up Jane Austen incomes and, remembering how mean I thought my father in the pocket-money stakes, find out that he was dishing out the equivalent of nearly £10 a week, back in the 60's... wish I hadn't been so ungrateful, now....

    1. Those are two of the things I have used the site for Anna. It's fascinating isn't it?

  6. Great stuff, Sue. Another Nigel Slater lover here.

  7. Delicious, and I really like the suggestion of adding cucumber to the yoghurt and the carrot salad. Thanks Sue! xx

  8. Reall,y twenty two years? How can that be since I am a mere child? Ah no, I apologise, that is only in my head - my daughter is 41...

    I do like Nigels recipes, they are inspirational, rather than instructional.

  9. Recently discovered your Blog and loving it. now that I know you are a Nigel Slater fan I love it even more!

  10. Thanks for the inspiration! I have guests coming for dinner on Sunday, & I will try this marinade instead of my usual (soysauce, oil, ginger, & garlic).

  11. Oh Nigel - he's a national treasure. I made his chickpea mash last night - must have been enjoying that for about twenty years too! Although my copy is a paperback (cheapskate, or late adopter, you decide)

  12. I think I'd like his books a lot. This sounds delicious and I like your substitution ideas.

  13. Winding Ways6:24 pm BST

    Delicious recipe! I tried it last night and my family was wildly enthusiastic, by which I mean, nobody complained.

  14. I love Nigel Slater's style of writing. When I got the first Kitchen Diaries book I sat and read it over the course of a weekend, no one got any sense out of me until it was finished, I then went on to collect all his other books. They read better than some fiction books, I feel as though he is reading aloud to me and can always picture him so vividly as I read.

  15. I have this book in paper back bought in the mid-late 1990s. I can remember reading it in a hotel room when I was sent on a course in London for work! I made a version of this last night (probably closer to Nigel's original) and it was delicious, although one child complained that chicken has icky bits. Many thanks! It also reminded me to have a look back through my collection of cookery books when I despair that my family will never eat the food I cook.

  16. Fab recipe, thank you, it was dinner today and we loved it, I baked rather than grilled...I made extra to give me some yummy lunches this week xx


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