Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yogurt-marinated chicken kebabs with wilted mustard greens and macaroni pie

Cool-weather greens season is upon us. My kale is still itty-bitty, but the mustard greens I planted a few weeks earlier are absolutely kicking ass. I used to just saute my mustard greens like Swiss chard, but pre-boiling them before the saute is definitely my new technique. There was no bitterness whatsoever. Like my Dad said, you could certainly add more butter or bacon to make them really good, but then you're kind of getting away from the point of eating them in the first place.

This recipe originally calls for Aleppo pepper, which I do not have laying around and to my horror, neither did Central Market (although the spice guy gave me a lead on a place I could definitely find it). However, the suggested substitution of red chili flakes and sweet Hungarian paprika was plenty delicious, so you may choose not to seek out Aleppo pepper at all. The marinade does really wonderful things to boring old chicken breasts - it grills up moist and tender with a nice dark char.

I had planned to make saffron rice as my starch side but Mom called and mentioned she had made a big macaroni pie, so yeah - see ya later, saffron rice. Unfortunately I do not have her recipe so I can't share it, but rest assured it is extremely delicious. A guest post, maybe?? Anyway, someone make this saffron rice and tell me how it turns out.

2 tsp red chili flakes
2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lemon, sliced thinly into rounds
~ 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes

~ 2-3 lb mustard greens (if you're buying them, you'll need about one bunch per 2 people)
1 large garlic clove, minced or microplaned
1 tbsp butter

Combine all the ingredients for the yogurt marinade. Add your chicken chunks, cover with plastic wrap, and pop into the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight. When you're ready to cook, have your Grill Master start the barbecue while you thread the chicken onto long metal skewers.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook your mustard greens in the boiling water for about five minutes (like spinach, they will cook down in size dramatically), then drain. Press them with a spoon to squeeze out excess water, or just wait til they're cool and squeeze with your hands.

When your grill is nice and hot, cook your kebabs, turning often, for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

While that's happening, melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute your garlic for a minute or two. Add your drained and squeezed mustard greens with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until nicely heated through, about 5 minutes.

Reheat the macaroni pie your mom brought over. Marvel at your good fortune.

Slide your gorgeous chicken chunks off the skewer onto a plate and add a square of macaroni pie and pile of greens. Eat!

Serves 4, takes a few hours to marinate but other than that, half an hour.

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