Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper

Summer schedules make it hard for our little crew to meet consistently from May through August.  But, we are all back from our dog-day adventures in Europe, Japan, the beach, the mid-west and were once again able to enjoy Epicurean delights together.

Here are some photos from our adventures!
Detroit, Michigan

 New York, NY

 Detroit, MI on the right, Canada on the left


Chicago, IL

Chuo-ku, Japan

Antwerp, Belguim

Ocean City, NJ

When we all gathered again, we had dinner at Singer’s house and she made Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper.

What is Aleppo pepper, you ask? Named for a city in Syria, the burgundy Aleppo pepper pods are semi-dried with salt, de-seeded, crushed and ground into the a sweet, robust and sharp spice.  It’s common in middle eastern cooking and its moderate heat, tempered by its natural sweetness, doesn’t overpower the flavors of other ingredients. Similar to paprika, but with kicky, cumin-like notes, you can sprinkle Aleppo on deviled eggs, on potatoes or on tuna or chicken salad.  It is also known as a Halaby pepper.

As soon as I find some, this little ditty of a spice will find a home in my spice cabinet.

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, plus additional Aleppo pepper or paprika for sprinkling
- 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt** (8 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
- 2 unpeeled lemons; 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving
- 2 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken (thighs and/or breast halves), cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
- Special equipment: Flat metal skewers

If using Aleppo pepper, place in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon warm water. Let stand until thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. If using dried crushed red pepper and paprika combination, place in large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand until paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. 

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper or paprika. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter. Surround with lemon wedges and serve.

We tried to dine outside under Singer’s charming, Wisteria laced trellis, but a little black rain cloud had something to say about that….we quickly scrambled and brought the beautiful table setting inside.

We also had a delicious side salad and Singer explained…”the Bulgar salad was simply cooked bulgar with heirloom tomatoes. Chives, Basil, Mint, Parsley, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Garlic , Salt and Pepper…..not a recipe really!”  Perhaps it was not a recorded recipe, but it was really, REALLY good.

We ended the meal with a delicious and simply gorgeous apricot and pistachio dessert that I will write about next.

Image of Aleppo Peppers is from

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