Monday, July 11, 2011

garlicky yogurt-marinated chicken kebabs

POW! i made these skewers to bring to a 4th of july grilling potluck. they were great because they are super-portable, you can assemble them ahead of time, and they are made from chicken thighs, so they stay moist even if you are too dazzled by sparklers to properly man the grill.

the day before you want to eat these, you should start marinating them. you can do it a few hours ahead of time, too, but i think it's better to have them soaking overnight, if you can.

the marinade ingredients are above, with the notable exception of the yogurt and the less notable exception of the aging half onion i found in the fridge and put in after taking this picture.

basically it involved lots of garlic, parsley, peppercorns and coriander seeds that i crushed a little, lemon zest (subsequent to this i chopped the lemon into smallish chunks and stuck it in too), and whatever other herbs you have around - i used some fresh thyme and oregano and dried sumac and za'atar and a little cumin. i put these all in a tupperware thing and added about a cup of yogurt (it was for about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken). it doesn't really matter how much you use - you just want to have enough to coat the chicken.

the chicken i used was free-range boneless skinless chicken thighs. as you can see above, i cut them against the grain into basically like three strips from each thigh. you can make the pieces whatever size you want, of course. it'll just affect their cooking time. once they were cut up, i tossed them in the marinade, made sure they were all coated, and left them in the fridge overnight. i stirred them a couple of times while they were marinating, just to make sure everyone got nicely acquainted.

i decided to keep it simple with these, although you could use any number of vegetables. i think things like zucchini or yellow squash would be good, or maybe little parboiled potatoes, or even (ugh) mushrooms, if you like that sort of thing. ooh, or olives! those would be really good. but i ended up just using an onion, some lovely little heirloom cherry tomatoes, and some lemon chunks. the lemon was really good because you could squeeze it over the other stuff after grilling. it's probably a good idea to let the skewers soak in some water for an hour or so before assembling the kebabs so that the wood doesn't catch on fire once they go on the grill.

i sort of threaded the chicken onto the skewers satay-style, to make sure it was not going anywhere. just alternate chicken and whatever else you're using. then grill them! or you could probably put them under the broiler of your oven. or, and this is the best method, get someone else to cook them for you! thanks, clifton!

1 lemon, zested and then cut into 8 or so pieces
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
big handful parsley, torn or roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 teaspoon each of peppercorns and coriander seeds, lightly crushed (you can use the bottom of a heavy pan or a mortar and pestle, etc)
1 tablespoon za'atar (or could use dried thyme, too)
2 teaspoons sumac (optional - just if you happen to have it)
1 - 2 teaspoons cumin
fresh herbs if you have on hand - oregano, thyme, mint would all be good

boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion or several small onions, cut in ~ 1 inch chunks
1 lemon, cut in ~ 1 inch chunks
cherry or grape tomatoes, squashes, olives, etc - whatever you want to put on there. try to make sure that things are somewhat uniform in size.


  1. (is it fixed?) i was just thinking about marinating stuff in yogurt, and wondering how that all was. i've heard of such things. and now that you're talking about it..........

  2. yay! it seems to be fixed! yeah, i like the yogurt marinating thing because i think it keeps chicken more moist and tender. something about the acid in the yogurt maybe? also it tastes good.