Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sesame Ginger Chicken Shish Kebabs

Kebabs have always been a fun way to cook your whole meal in one shot.  It involves simply the time to chop the food, marinate, skewer and grill.  It wasn't until I did a little digging that I found out just how old this tradition is and that almost every culture in the world has a variation of it.  Turkey is one of the oldest countries claiming this tradition, where in Turkish "Shish Kebab" is literally translated "skewer" and "roast meat".  Some say it began on the battlefields where soldiers would cook their meat on swords over open fire.  In Portugal, the marinading part was said to be done not only to tenderize the meat, but also to get rid of the gaminess of the meat.   In todays world, the Kebab has been adapted into almost every culture:  Oriental cultures have Satay, which is served with sauces;  Japan has Yakitori, which is skewered fowl; and France has Brochettes, which is the French just changing the name to their word for skewer. 

In my book, no matter what you call it or where it came from, kebabs are yummy...and I will always want to pronounce the word 'ke - bob', like SNL's Mike Ditka pronounced 'Da Bears.'  Not sure why...maybe it's a mid west thing.   Well, enough of me talking...here's the recipe(s).

 
There are two ways to go on this one...home made marinade or Newman's Own.  We did a combination of the two when making this recipe.  Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing is an amazing easy and tasty way to enhance chicken, whether grilling in Kebab form or just grilling chicken.  The rule with marinading chicken is that you need to let the chicken sit with the marinade for at least one hour, but over night and "POW" the flavor is unbeatable.  The veggies are a little different - generally, a span of 30 minutes to two hours is good for marinading.  If you do much more and the marinade has acids in it, it will start breaking down the crispness of the veggies.   And no-one wants a limp veggie. 

Sesame Ginger Chicken Shish Kebabs

Ingredients (with pre-made marinade):

  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch size chunks
  • 8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms
  • 16 oz Bottle of Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing
Preparation:
  • Chop the chicken and the veggies (not the mushrooms) into one inch size pieces. 
  • Place chicken in one bowl and veggies in the other.  Pour marinade in bowls until all of the pieces are coated.  A trick that I do when coating anything is to saran wrap the top of the bowl and shake the marinade over everything.  Just make sure that you have a good seal on the wrap first.
  • Let everything marinate.  If you will be marinading for longer than 2 hours, put the bowls in the refrigerator.
  • When you begin the skewering process, start your grill - on high for about 5 minutes, clean grates and turn to medium, but keep the lid closed to trap the heat in.
  • Begin skewering the kebabs.  There is no rhyme or reason to this as far as order of placing items on the skewer.  So, just have fun and ask a friend for help on this one.  Although an easy meal to throw together can be time consuming if you only have one pair of hands to thread each skewer with every last piece. 
  • Place threaded skewers on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes on each quarter side.  Enough to cook the meat, but not dry anything out.
Home Made Ginger Sesame Marinade:

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp dried ginger or fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbls brown sugar
  • 2 Tbls sesame seeds, preferably toasted
  • 2 Tbls pineapple juice
Preparation:
  • Whisk everything together in a bowl and taste.  Adjust accordingly to your desired flavor, coat veggies or chicken and proceed with the process above. 
Happy Grilling!!!

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