Grilled chicken kebabs should feature chunks of juicy chicken with lightly charred exteriors, but often they turn out dry. We thought an overnight marinade would be the perfect solution to this problem. We knew
we wanted a salty base that would act like a brine, seasoning the chicken and encouraging juiciness, and we wanted to include ingredients that would boost the chicken’s mild flavor. We turned to a combination of fresh herbs, shallot, and a small amount of sugar, which we combined in a food processor to eliminate tedious chopping. While we didn’t want the marinade to be overly sweet, we found that a little sugar encouraged the chicken to brown during its short time on the grill, and the sweetness also helped to temper the flavor of the raw shallot. We reserved some of the marinade to pour over the cooked kebabs to reinforce their flavor, and we found that adding a little lemon juice did wonders to brighten up the finished dish. You will need eight 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- Total Time: 2 Hours
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large red onion, halved through root end, core discarded, each half cut into 4 wedges, and each wedge cut crosswise into thirds
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Process ½ cup oil, water, parsley, thyme, shallot, sugar, salt, and pepper in food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. Transfer ¼ cup marinade to small bowl and stir in lemon juice; set aside.
- Gently toss onion pieces with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in separate bowl. Microwave, covered, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Thread chicken, onion, and bell peppers evenly onto eight 12-inch metal skewers. Arrange skewers in 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pour remaining marinade over top, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate kebabs for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally to coat evenly. For a Charcoal Grill
- Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter half filled with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. For a Gas Grill
- Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium.
- Meanwhile, pat kebabs dry with paper towels. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place kebabs on grill and cook (covered if using gas), turning often, until kebabs are well browned on all sides and chicken registers 160 degrees, 14 to 18 minutes.
- Transfer kebabs to serving platter. Stir reserved marinade to recombine, then drizzle over kebabs. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.