© David Loftus
chargrilled chicken kebabs
Light and tasty, this kebab recipe will give you a taste of summer even if it isn’t quite warm enough to get the barbie out. The salsa works well with all kinds of chargrilled or barbecued meat.
Jamie's Top Tips
Skewers are a great way to cook tender, quick-cooking meats and seafood such as chicken breasts, shrimps or tenderloin – just make sure all the pieces on the skewer are more or less the same size and not too crowded so everything it has a chance to cook evenly
Kebabs are really versatile things to cook – If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in plenty of water before threading the food onto them – this will stop them from burning during cooking. If you’re using a grill pan on the stovetop, make sure you cut the skewers to fit in the pan before you start.
The key to making good kebabs is taking time to ensure your ingredients are cut to roughly the same size and thickness. That way, everything cooks evenly and you get a lovely finished result.
Have a go at trying out different combinations of meat and veg. Things like mushrooms, onions, chilies, zucchini and peppers all work really well.
Chop the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes and put in a bowl along with the rosemary, finely grated orange zest and olive oil. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
When the chicken pieces are ready to cook, thread them on to 4 skewers. Season the finished kebabs well with the salt and pepper.
Using a grill pan or barbecue, grill the kebabs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they’re nicely charred and cooked through. Check the center of the biggest chunk of chicken to make sure.
Wash and dry the baby arugula, or lettuce you are using, and place in a bowl with the mint leaves. Squeeze over the lemon juice, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and season. Serve the skewers in the middle of the table with a pile of warmed flatbreads, the peppery salad and a bowl of home-made smoky barbecue salsa (see below) to spoon over.
For the smoky barbecue salsa
Heat a saucepan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the onions and fry on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, or until sweet and soft. Add all of the other salsa ingredients except the tomatoes and parsley.
Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then stir in the cherry tomatoes and parsley leaves. Serve warm or cold with any kind of chargrilled or barbecued meat.
Serving suggestions: These are delicious with lemony green beans for some added veg, or lose the pita and have them with a serving of brown rice pilaf.
Tips from the dietitian: These skewers make a complete meal: protein (the chicken), grain (the pita bread); and vegetables (the salsa and the arugula salad). Salsa is a great way to add flavor without adding a lot of calories. This one in particular uses flavorful spices to add punch to the chicken. Try a wholewheat pita instead to increase your fiber intake.
Food safety: If you’re preparing raw meat, chicken or fish on a chopping board, wash the board, the knife and your hands thoroughly afterwards so that the bacteria doesn’t spread onto food that is cooked or ready to eat. Some restaurants have different colored chopping boards for raw and cooked foods, or for meat, fish and vegetables, to minimize the chances of this happening. These are readily available at home and kitchen stores so you might like to try this at home.
• 4 chicken breasts, about 20 ounces
• Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
• zest of 1 orange
• 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 large handfuls of baby arugula, mesclun or baby spinach, about 4 cups
• a handful of fresh mint leaves
• Juice of ˝ a lemon
• 4 pita breads or flatbreads