Monday, July 9, 2012

Zatar marinated chicken kabobs with safron - cranberry rice

Summer in inland Southern California:  Grill season (not that it's ever really not grill season here, but July and August, I definitely do not want to heat up the kitchen).  Dinner tonight was a Middle Eastern inspired affair.  I made white wine and zatar marinated chicken kabobs with a cucumber yogurt sauce, safron - cranberry rice, and steamed spiced sweet corn.  I was really happy with this meal.  I got the skewers grilled just right, with the chicken completely cooked, but still moist.  I didn't have much in the way of fresh veggies to work with at the moment, so I used frozen corn.  I know, this results in a less than exciting color palette for the food, but my roommate won't eat green beans, which was the only other veggie that came easily to hand. I put the frozen corn in a Tupperware microwave steamer (an outdated model they don't sell anymore) with about a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and two teaspoons of Auntie Arwen's Shy Panda Kosher Oriental Stir Fry Blend, and microwaved for five minutes. 

Zatar is a Middle Eastern spice mix of thyme, sumac, salt, and white sesame seeds.

Zatar Marinated Chicken Kabobs

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 small onions
2 cups white wine
2 cups  water
1 tsp. kosher salt
1Tblsp. zatar

Cut chicken into cubes.  Place in a gallon ziplock bag with salt, zatar, wine, and water.  Remove as much aire as possible.  Allow to marinate in refridgerator for at least 2 hours.

Cut onions into eighths.  Remove chicken cubes from marinade.  Alternate onion pieces and chicken pieces on skewers.  Heat grill to very hot, then turn heat down just before placing skewers on grill.  Grill, turning occaisonally, until brown on all sides, and chicken is completely cooked.

To make the dipping sauce, grate 1/2 an english cucumber.  Place grated cucumber in a colander or seive over a bowl, sprinkle cucumber with a little salt, and place a small weight ( like a small bowl filled with water) on top.  Allow to sit at least ten minutes, to remove some liquid from the cucumber.
In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup greek yogurt, cucumber, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 2 tsp. ground coriander.

Safron - Cranberry Rice

2 cups basmati rice
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. chilli powder
pinch saffron threads
4 cups water

Place all ingredients in a rice cooker. Cook according to your cooker's directions.

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