Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Ali Baba Chicken
Why is this called Ali Baba Chicken? My husband told me it reminds him of the chicken kebabs at a local Middle Eastern restaurant, Ali Baba. Is this recipe authentic? Probably not. Does it taste good? Yes! Plus it's easy, so add it to your summer grilling list.
Believe it or not, this recipe was the first time I grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs. When I was growing up my mom always baked chicken thighs with Lowry's Seasoned Salt. She'd pull of the skin, season them, and bake them in a glass Pyrex dish. They were good and healthy, but they seemed so plain because we ate them all the time. In adulthood I fell into the same boneless, skinless chicken breast trap that so many of us do. But I must agree with those who say there's something special about chicken thighs. They are just as easy to cook as chicken breasts, but they are moister and richer. I think each cut of chicken has its place. If you think you only like white meat, I urge you to try this recipe.
I used metal skewers. If you decide to use bamboo (wooden) skewers, please be sure to soak them for at least 30 minutes before adding the chicken. Otherwise, they may catch on fire.
We serve this chicken with grilled vegetables or roasted broccoli and rice pilaf or jasmine rice. The leftovers would be great stuffed into a pita with some fresh veggies. Last time we made this there were no leftovers. It was that tasty.
Ali Baba Chicken
Keeley-style, inspired by use real butter
1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks (about 2 inch pieces)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
Cut chicken into chunks and place into a large, zip top bag. Add remaining ingredients, close bag and massage the chicken to get the marinade easily distributed. Place in refrigerator for one hour (in the meantime, soak your wooden skewers, if using).
Thread the chicken onto skewers. Grill for about 4 minutes per side over direct or until chicken is done. I prefer to grill on charcoal, but these also can be done on an indoor grill, a gas grill, or even roasted in the oven at 425 degrees. Just make sure the chicken is completely cooked before serving.
Serve with rice or in a pita, with vegetables.