Savor the Heat: Hot Sauce Chicken Recipes

Savor the Heat: Hot Sauce Chicken Recipes

Légal Hot Sauce has a long history in Brazil, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was imported to the U.S. It’s quickly gaining popularity in restaurants and home kitchens alike. Have you tasted this unique chili sauce yet? 

Eaten on its own, the flavor is best described as a unique blend of citrus, an almost resiny pine or beer hop essence, and a kick of heat. It’s unlike anything you’ve likely tried before, and it’s amazing. What are the peppers in Légal Hot Sauce’s lineup of hot sauces, and what’s the best way to use them? Before we can get to that, it helps to understand just how spicy the Malagueta pepper is.

Understanding the Scoville Scale

A pepper’s spiciness or heat level is based on the Scoville Scale, a tool developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacologist. It involves separating capsaicinoids from the pepper and diluting them with sugar water until a panel of experts until the heat is no longer tasted. Higher amounts of sugar water mean the pepper is spicier than others.

When it takes a dilution of 100,000, the Scoville Heat Unit measurement is 100,000, which is pretty hot. There are always ranges given as the amount of sun, temperature, and soil conditions can all impact a pepper’s capsaicin levels.

Meet the Malagueta Pepper

No matter what hot sauce you try, Légal uses a blend of carrots, vinegar, salt, and Brazil’s malagueta pepper. What is the malagueta pepper? It’s from the capsicum species known as frutescens, which is the same family as bird’s eye and Tabasco.

The malagueta’s Scoville Heat Units (SHU) fall into the 60,000 to 100,000 range. That puts them between a Thai pepper and Scotch Bonnet. They’re much hotter than a jalapeno, but not as spicy as a habanero. Have you ever heard of the piri-piri pepper in Portugal? That’s the Swahili name for this spicy pepper. 

Légal’s malagueta hot sauce is key to traditional dishes like Moqueca, but it’s also believed to have medicinal properties, so some people stock up on it for health and wellness. Capsaicinoids show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and are believed to help with oxidative stress in diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes.

Five Chicken Recipes That Get a Boost From Malagueta Hot Sauce 

Try it for yourself. Here are five chicken dishes to make with a bottle of malagueta hot sauce.

Our Take on Peri-Peri Chicken

Traditionally, Peri-Peri Chicken is made with whole malagueta peppers that you puree. Légal cuts a few steps for you. Get a small bowl and whisk together:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Légal hot sauce in your preferred heat level
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 6 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Sprinkle of white pepper

Add the marinade to a covered bowl or large freezer bag and add a pound of chicken thighs. Let that marinate overnight or for a few hours. Grill the chicken until its internal temperature reaches 165º F.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Salad

Take two boneless chicken breasts, simmer them until they’re tender, and use a fork to shred the meat. Once the chicken is cooked and shredded, set that aside to cool. When it’s cool add:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crushed pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp malagueta hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

If there are vegetables you prefer, feel free to swap out the celery and red onion. We love to add golden raisins or apples and have a mix of sweet, salty, and spicy, but you can choose your preferred fruits or omit them completely. The goal is to get a mixture of crunchy and soft. Serve that salad on your favorite bread or roll.

A Twist on Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

A bag of bagel chips or tortilla chips and a pot of steaming hot, cheesy buffalo chicken dip is a crowd-pleaser, and malagueta peppers add a unique twist to it. It’s a great slow cooker recipe or even better baked at 350º F until the cheese is a light golden brown.

  • 1 pound of raw chicken breast, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Sauce the chicken, onion, and garlic until the chicken is cooked through. Once that’s done, add 1/4 cup malagueta hot sauce, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup buttermilk ranch dressing,1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese, and ½ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese. Move that to your baking dish or slow cooker and cook until bubbly.

Flavorful and Garlickly 40-Clove Chicken

Have you tried the quick and easy 40-clove chicken recipes that have been immensely popular for years? It’s one of the easiest recipes, and malagueta hot sauce kicks it up to another level.

Place two pounds of skin-on chicken thighs, wings, drumsticks, and/or breasts in a baking pan. Place 40 whole, peeled garlic cloves around them. Sprinkle them all with salt and black pepper to taste. Preheat the oven to 350º F while you make the sauce.

  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp malagueta hot sauce
  • Juice and zest from one lemon

Pour that sauce over the chicken and bake until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165º F. Baste with the juices every 15 minutes. Different cuts of chicken will require different times, so an instant-read thermometer helps a lot here. When the chicken is done, thicken the juices and have a sauce to serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes.

To thicken the juices, simmer the juices in a pan for 20 to 30 minutes to evaporate the water. If you’re in a hurry, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup chicken stock and use that to thicken it. Add it gradually to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Chicken Wings

If you’re looking for something simple to serve at a gathering, air-fried chicken wings are a great choice. Start by parboiling two pounds of chicken wings for 10 minutes. Let those drain while you make the sauce. This helps ensure you get very crispy wings. For the sauce, you need:

  • 8-ounce stick of salted butter or butter substitute, melted
  • 6 tbsp of malagueta hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Toss the chicken wings in the hot sauce mixture. Set wire racks on baking sheets and place the chicken wings so that they’re not crowded. Bake in a convection oven, if you have one, or regular oven set to 375º F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Be adventurous. While the heat levels of Légal Hot Sauce come in mild, medium, or hot, they’re not overbearing. You’ll find the flavor stands out and the kick of heat rolls in after. Try it in any of these recipes and see what you think. Come up with your own creations and share them with us. We’d love to know how you’re using malagueta hot sauce.