Greek-Style Chicken Kebabs

August 28, 2014

Greek Chicken Kebabs - Sweet and Savory Kitchens


Margaux says…

We recently got a new gas grill, which replaced an ancient double hand-me-down (it was handed down to us from someone who had it handed down to them).  Our new one is also a hand-me-down, but much much newer, with no rust and *GASP!* it actually evenly cooks the food.  The other bonus to the new one is I can use it!  The old one had all these quirks, and it wasn’t easy to get started.  I could do it, but not very easily, and definitely not on a weeknight with two crazy kids hanging on me.  This new one is easier to use than the stove!  So I’ve been grilling every other night…no pan to clean up, and the kitchen stays nice and cool.  This is one of my favorite grilling recipes, an adaptation from the recipe magazine I use all summer long.  It’s not as quick as some of them, and doesn’t take 30 minutes like the magazine says, but it’s still quick enough that I can do it on a weeknight.  Plus, I kind of make it more complicated by doing veggie skewers for my vegetarian son along with it.  The recipe calls for serving it along with grilled pita, but I usually also serve with grilled veggie skewers and a green salad.

Greek-Style Chicken Kebabs with Grilled Flatbread

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Fall 2010 edition

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely diced

1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (about 1 1/2 lbs)

2 red onions, cut into 1″ chunks

4 pita bread rounds

1. Whisk yogurt, 2 tbsp oil, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in bowl.  Toss oregano, cayenne, and chicken with half of yogurt mixture.

2. Thread four 12-inch skewers with chicken and onions.  Grill over hot fire, turning skewers every 2 minutes, until onions and chicken are cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Transfer skewers to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.  Brush both sides of pita rounds with remaining oil and grill until lightly charred and warm, about 1 minute.  Transfer to platter with chicken.

3. Toss cucumbers with remaining yogurt mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with chicken and pita.


Aunt Suzy says . . .

We got together with our friends the Eklunds for cards last Saturday night.  Sue made this fabulous dish that’s a favorite of ours (thank you, Sue!!).  It’s beautiful to behold as well as delicious.  We brought a mixed greens salad and sauteed corn, which made for a lovely meal.  I’ve asked Sue to be guest chef for this post since neither Margaux nor I have made this recipe.

Sue says . . .

On a trip to North Carolina a few years ago, we had the choice to spend the afternoon at the airport waiting for our flight to Minneapolis – or spend our time at a distinctly unique food market and cafe.  We opted for the unique experience at Sara Foster’s Market in Durham, which is filled with awesome salads, casseroles, deli sandwiches, breads, desserts and more.  We struck up a conversation with the staff, and Sara invited us to join her as she tasted and selected wine from various vendors.  Needless to say, I bought several signed cookbooks, jams, oils, etc.!  This delicious warm chicken salad is from the The Foster’s Market Cookbook (2002) and is one of my favorites for a late summer dinner, using fresh garden tomatoes and basil.  It’s easy to make and you can see how beautiful it is in a large, low serving bowl.

The Chicken Salad

Canola or safflower oil for oiling the grill top

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 red onion, sliced in half-inch rounds

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (I used oil-packed)

1 cup drained, quartered artichoke hearts (I used marinated)

3 ripe garden tomatoes (regular or heirloom), cored, seeded and cut in large chunks

2 tablespoons drained capers

6 large fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 cup Provencal Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Salt and pepper

Basil leaves for garnish

Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill.  Brush the grill top lightly with the canola or safflower oil.  Toss the chicken and the onion with the olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl.  Let marinate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.  Grill the chicken and the onion directly over the fire.  For the chicken, about 7-8 minutes per side until done (firm to the touch/juices run clear).  For the onion about 4 minutes per side, until cooked but crisp tender. Set the chicken aside to cool for 20-30 minutes. Cut the onion rounds in half and place in a large, shallow bowl. (Pasta serving bowls are perfect for this dish.)

After the chicken has rested, slice the breasts on the diagonal into half-inch slices, about 8-10 per breast half.  Add the sliced chicken to the bowl with the onions along with the sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, capers, sliced basil, and some of the vinaigrette (about half or to your taste) and salt/pepper.  Toss gently to mix and garnish with additional basil leaves.  Pour the remaining vinaigrette into a small pitcher and pass at the table.

The Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 garden tomato, cored, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon drained capers

3 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

salt and pepper

Place the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the oils and whisk until incorporated and slightly emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.   This can be made up to 6 days in advance of use.  If you make ahead, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

It’s grilling season!  We love this flavorful, no bbq sauce approach to grilled chicken.  I realized when grilling season rolled around this year that we had put our much used/loved Weber grill out to the curb last fall – it just fell apart after over 15 years.  So the minute I saw the basic Weber kettle grill on sale, I hopped on over to the store and nabbed one.  We inaugurated the new grill with this chicken, feeling like we were kicking off the summer of 2011.

Margaux says . . . .

We grill a lot in the summer, especially in August and September.  I get really sick of having a hot kitchen in August, and in September it’s a mad rush to try to get as much out of summer as we can before it’s over.  But grilling is definitely my husband Jason’s job!  I don’t know why, but I have no interest in learning to grill.  It’s one of those gender-role things that we stick by in our household, along with mowing the lawn and taking the garbage out.  (Otherwise, I’d like to think that we’re pretty progressive! :))

We have a gas grill, which comes in handy since we sometimes grill every night.  It’s quick and easy.  But lately Jason has been really wanting a charcoal grill, and I have to agree that there’s nothing quite like charcoal-grilled food.  We may be getting one soon, for weekend grilling though, since it’s a little more time consuming.

Lemon-Garlic Grilled Chicken

Ingredients – this is definitely a recipe of approximations!

Chicken parts of your choice or whole chicken, cut into pieces

EV Olive Oil

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic press

Italian Street Fair seasoning or herbs and spices of your choice

Sprigs of fresh oregano (optional)

Place chicken pieces in an oblong glass baking dish (or dishes depending on how much chicken you have).  Drizzle olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice over all.  Turn pieces to coat.  Scatter all remaining ingredients over the chicken, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if making the day before you grill.

Grilling on the Weber

Aunt Suzy says . . . . Light a bunch charcoal using an electric starter or charcoal chimney.  We recommend lump hard wood charcoal vs. briquets, but either will work.  We’ve been using Woodstock Charcoal lately, but we also like Whole Foods version.  We DO NOT recommend lighter fluid.

We also like the indirect method of grilling this chicken vs. directly over the coals. Bank the hot charcoal to one side of the grate and place a drip pan on the other side.  You can put water and herbs in the drip pan, but this is not necessary.  Place the chicken on the side of the grill rack over the drip pan. You can do this right on the grill top –  we sometimes use a flat cast iron thingy made for grilling vegetables.

Put the lid back on the Weber, with bottom and top vents wide open.  Check every 7 or so minutes, turning pieces and moving around so all cook evenly.  The total time should take about 25-40 minutes depending on how big the pieces are and how hot the fire is.  For the indirect cooking method, you’ll want a pretty hot fire, less so if you cook directly over the charcoal.  You can see in the photo, Tatum has an instant read meat thermometer that he uses to make sure the chicken breasts are done but not dried out.

Grilling on a Gas Grill

Margaux says . . . . Preheat all burners on high, then adjust heat to moderately high. Turn off 1 burner and arrange chicken legs and thighs on lightly oiled rack above it. Cook, covered with lid, turning legs once, until cooked through, about 40 minutes total. (Jason uses an instant read thermometer to make sure they’re done.) Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil, while cooking breasts.

Cook chicken breasts on rack above unlit burner, covered with lid, turning once, until just cooked through (the meat next to the “tender”, when opened slightly, will be moist but no longer pink), about 30 minutes total.