Grilled chicken skewers don't always need a long marinade to be full of flavor. These spend just a few minutes in a lemony, garlicky mix before they're grilled. The hot chicken absorbs the flavor of the fresh basil chimichurri, and the grilled cherry tomatoes bring sweetness and acid.
Why It Works
- The garlicky marinade adds a lot of flavor to the chicken; pricking the meat allows it to penetrate better (but if you don’t have time, feel free to skip this step).
- Saving most of the acid for the chimichurri prevents the chicken from getting mushy or chalky, a risk of acidic marinades.
- Grilling the chicken and tomatoes on separate skewers helps you better control their cooking times.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:20 minutes
- For the Kebabs:
- 3 medium cloves garlic, grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon; 15g)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) grated zest and 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon (about 4g) coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (about 2g) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (about 2g) crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
- 1 pint large cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces; 340g)
- For the Chimichurri:
- 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/4 ounces; 35g)
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/4 ounce; 10g)
- 1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) red wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, grated (about 1 teaspoon; 4g)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Light 1/2 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to medium heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
For the Kebabs: While grill preheats, whisk together garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
Prick chicken all over with a fork, then cut into 2-inch chunks. Add to marinade and mix to coat. It needs to sit for only about 5 minutes.
For the Chimichurri: While chicken marinates, combine basil, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until herbs are coarsely chopped. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Pour into a serving bowl and leave at room temperature until chicken is ready.
Thread chicken onto metal (or pre-soaked bamboo) skewers, using a halved onion or potato to make the process faster and safer. Make sure to leave a little room between pieces on the skewers so they cook evenly.
Thread tomatoes onto separate skewers, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt.
Grill chicken and tomatoes over direct heat until tomatoes are softened and chicken is lightly charred and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, about 5 minutes for tomatoes and 10 minutes for chicken.
Transfer chicken and tomato skewers to a platter and serve with chimichurri.