Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marinated Greek Chicken Kebabs


Well I promised something springy, but this recipe, from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking by Rena Salaman and Jan Cutler, is more of a head start on summer barbecueing.  However, even if it's still chilly where you are, if you have access to a grill, you should get these delicious kebabs cooking asap.  You won't be sorry!

One of the first times I made this recipe was on summer vacation with a big group of extended family, to rave reviews.  I've made it many times since, and just as I was making it this past weekend, I came to the conclusion that what makes the difference between "pretty good" and "OMG DELICIOUS" with this recipe is making it on a real outdoor grill.  You can do it in the oven (as I did in the prep pictures below,) you can turn on the broil at the end to get a little bit of char, or you can do it in a grill pan (but unless you have one with no lip, the skewers tend to get in the way), but it's just not quite the same - the grilly goodness does something to bring out the flavor of the marinade and make the texture just perfect.  Unfortunately, I have spent most of my adult life in places with no outdoor property on which to grill, so I had to make do!


1 large onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup (120 ml/4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp paprika
2 or 3 saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water (optional - I don't keep saffron in the house!)
2 young chickens (I use boneless, skinless chicken breast)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plus whatever veggies you like, chopped into bite-size pieces- I usually use onions, grape tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers (I don't like peppers but everyone else likes them on kebabs!)

And some extra lemons for squeezing over your finished kebabs.

Now before you get to grating the onions, keep in mind you can save yourself some time and tears by throwing the whole mix in a blender or food processor.  I like to be generous with the amount of marinade, so for about 5 lbs of chicken I usually make a double recipe, but 1.5x would probably do the trick too.

Cut your chicken into cubes and place in a large ziploc bag or tupperware with a tight sealing lid, pour the marinade over and stir to make sure all the chicken is coated.  Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours (I've marinated it for over 24 hours as well.) 

When the chicken is marinated, thread onto skewers, alternating pieces with the veggies (if you're using wood/bamboo skewers make sure you soak them first so they don't catch on fire!)  Cook on a moderately hot grill for about 10 minutes, turning once, (and depending on the size of your chicken cubes of course,) until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a sharp knife.

I recommend serving these with one of my favorite foods in the world, melitzanes tiganites with tzatsiki, aka spiced fried eggplant chips with yogurt cucumber sauce. Or if you're trying to stay healthy, skip the chips and just put the tzatsiki straight on your chicken.  Yummm.  Also delicious with hummus and pita, baba ghanoush, or my all time favorite, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves.)


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