Turkish Chicken Skewers – Party Perfect
Turkish Chicken Skewers are one of those great make-ahead party foods that make so much sense when you’re entertaining. Marinate your chicken overnight then cook the morning of or even two days ahead, then just reheat and serve!
Whenever possible I borrow tips from the pro-kitchens I’ve worked in; both on the blog and at home. Working in several of Ottawa’s good catering kitchens, I’ve learned a thing or two about throwing a good party and making it look effortless. The pros make almost everything ahead so that, once they arrive on site they just heat and serve.
This recipe is literally spices, olive oil and lemon juice with yogurt — add chicken. Marinade, skewer, cook and serve. The trick to a good chicken skewer is all about how you pack the chicken on the stick, please don;t cube it, it will just get nasty and dry. Slice it, then weave it on like a serpent and pack it tight with a good squeeze. This is the trick to a moist, juicy kabob.
In this post I threw in a tangy tomato dip as an option. It’s dead-simple, low fat, and amazingly rich with flavour. These also make a great main course!
Healthy tastes goooooood.
Turkish Chicken Skewers
Prep time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 skewers
4 chicken breasts or 8 – 10 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1/2 cup Turkish (or Greek) yogurt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
Mix yogurt, spices, lemon and olive oil in a bowl and season to taste: optional remove 2 tablespoons of marinade and reserve separate for finished sauce. Next, slice your chicken breasts, lengthwise into 1/2 – 3/4 inch slices. If using thighs, cut across the grain into 1/3 slices. Toss chicken with yogurt marinade to coat and refrigerate overnight (or at minimum, 2 hours).
Soak wooden skewers, one hour in advance. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Thread chicken onto skewers, looping it back and forth and squeeze it to pack it tight, keeping it to the end of the skewer for easy snacking. Oven roast for 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway, until chicken is cooked. If needed, char lightly under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
To reheat, simply pop your Turkish Chicken Skewers into the oven, as needed, at about 350°F (175°C) for about ten minutes and be your amazing host/hostess self.
Tomato Mint Dip – Domates Sosu
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: Less than a cup
1/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
Lightly saute cherry tomatoes in olive oil over medium heat until beginning to soften. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about three minutes until colour shifts to red-orange. Reduce temperature to low and cook for another five to seven minutes, adding water if it looks a little thick. Remove from heat and add fresh herbs.
Reserve more fresh herbs as finishing element.
Serve the chicken hot, drizzled with spiced yogurt marinade, or with just a hint of lemon and olive oil, as above. Serve the Tomato Mint dip cold, or at room temperature. Finish with fresh mint and basil.
Make your guests say “WOW!”