RECIPE: Lemony Moroccan-Style Chicken Kebabs

annova914February 8, 2009

I made this last fall and we loved it (just dug out the recipe and plan to make it this week). I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and I only used a yellow bell pepper and added thick zucchini slices on the grill. You need to use a small sharp knife to scrape the peel away from the pith (not a spoon!). It was great with pilaf. Ann

Lemony Moroccan-Style Chicken Kebabs -- by Bruce Aidells

Microwaving the lemons is a quick method for giving them the flavor of preserved lemons.

For the marinade:

2 lemons

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 (1/8") thick slices peeled fresh ginger

1 tsp. dried marjoram

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch saffron threads

1 tsp. light brown sugar

2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. olive oil

For the kebabs:

2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2" chunks

1 sweet onion (like Vidalia), cut into 1" pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" squares

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1" squares

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

For the Yogurt-Lemon Sauce:

1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

Kosher salt

Make the marinade:

Cut four deep, lengthwise gashes, equally spaced, into each lemon. Put the lemons and garlic cloves in a small microwavable container. Cover and microwave on high until the lemons are soft and juice has exuded from them, about 4 min. (If not soft, continue to microwave in 30-second intervals). Strain the juice into a small container and let the lemons and garlic cool briefly. When the lemons are cool enough to handle, separate them into sections. Scrape the pulp and most of the white pith away with a spoon; discard. Put the scraped lemon peels, garlic, lemon juice, and remaining marinade ingredients in a blender and pur to make a coarse, soft paste. Set 2 Tbs. aside to use for the yogurt sauce.

Marinate the chicken:

Put the chicken into a 1-gallon zip-top bag; scrape in the remaining marinade. Massage the bag to coat all the chicken pieces and marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Grill the kebabs:

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium high. Dump the chicken into a bowl, but donÂt scrape off any excess marinade. Put the onion and peppers in the marinade bag and massage them to coat with the marinade (itÂs fine if the onion pieces break apart). Transfer to another bowl. Thread the chicken onto skewers, positioning a piece of onion and pepper between the pieces of chicken. If thereÂs extra pepper or onion, thread them onto separate skewers, if you like.

When ready to grill, oil the grill grate. Grill the kebabs over direct heat (uncovered for charcoal; covered for gas), turning the skewers every 2 to 3 min. until the chicken is firm and shows no redness when cut into, about 10 to 15 min. Check several pieces of chicken to be sure.

Make the sauce:

Combine the reserved 2 Tbs. marinade with the cucumber, cilantro, yogurt, and 2 tsp. salt. Mix well. (Make the sauce no more than an hour before serving or it will be too watery).

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the skewers and serve them in a mound with the yogurt sauce on the side. Serves 6.

From Fine Cooking 72, pp. 53 June 1, 2005

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Yum, thanks Ann. All the spices sound good to me - I'm always a little cautious when a savory recipe calls for cinnamon, but it seems like such a small amount compared to everything else, I think I can take the chance :)
We happen to love thighs and so that's what I'll use!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:19PM
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I feel the same way (about using cinnamon in a savory dish) but I didn't use my stronger cinnamons. I used the regular cinnamon from the supermarket and it blended in with the other spices. The marinade set aside that eventually goes into the yogurt sauce makes it taste so good. Hope you like it! Ann

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:57PM
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Anything lemony is a winner with me. Bet it would be great with couscous too. Thanks for posting it.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:06PM
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