Friday, September 21, 2012

Chicken-Apricot Skewers

I made this Bon Appétit recipe last week, since apricots are in season. I feel badly about not having better pictures – sometimes it’s just not possible to serve dinner during the best daylight hours. Do take a look at the link, though, because those pictures are fantastic! Consider throwing some cilantro on top of the skewers for presentation. The Engineer both really enjoyed the recipe, though he eventually instructed me to make skewers with only apricot or only chicken to facilitate cooking (I think my chicken pieces were too small compared to the apricot halves). He also felt that the roasted apricots didn’t hold up in the fridge overnight, though I didn’t have problems with my skewer. But the chicken held up just fine on all accounts, and the marinade was delicious!

¾ cup canned light unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (lactose-free)
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tsp. (packed) light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
¼ cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped jalapeño (about 1 large; with seeds for more heat – I completely omitted this)
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into twenty-four 1" chunks
12 firm ripe small apricots, halved, pitted
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
lime wedges
24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour

Purée first 6 ingredients and ¾ tsp. salt in a blender until smooth. Add ¼ cup cilantro leaves and jalapeño and blend briefly to combine. Transfer ½ cup marinade to a small bowl; cover and chill for serving (return to room temperature before using). Place remaining marinade in a resealable plastic bag; add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight (the longer it marinates, the more flavorful it will be).

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Holding 2 skewers parallel to each other and 1/2" apart, thread 1 piece of chicken onto skewers, then 1 apricot half. Repeat with 1 more chicken piece and 1 more apricot half. (Using 2 skewers helps hold the meat and fruit together, preventing them from twirling around when skewers are turned on the grill.) Repeat with remaining skewers, chicken, and apricots for a total of 12, each holding 2 pieces of chicken and 2 apricot halves. Season with salt and pepper. Brush apricots with some marinade from bag; discard remaining marinade.

Grill skewers on one side until chicken is well browned, 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill until other side is well browned, 3-4 minutes longer. Move to a cooler part of grill. Cover grill and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving platter; sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.

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