Each week Joshua Bousel of The Meatwave drops by with a recipe for you to grill over the weekend. Fire it up, Joshua!
I like a good challenge of finding somewhat obscure ingredients, which is what drew me to a chicken recipe involving Aleppo pepper, a Syrian dried ground pepper. I thought it would be an easy one since a variety of Middle Eastern markets dot my neighborhood, but after a good afternoon of searching, I ultimately failed and resorted to paprika and crushed red pepper.
Dejected, but not totally down, I soldiered on and finished the recipe of chicken marinated in a yogurt-based mixture, which is then skewered and grilled. Any lingering feelings of disappointment quickly faded upon tasting. Aleppo pepper or not, this chicken were delicious.
Moist and wonderfully flavored--with spice from the pepper and tang from the acids in the vinegar and lemons--these skewers are among some of the best I've ever had. Although satisfied, Aleppo pepper is still on a growing list of ingredients I must find, and once I do, there's no doubt I'll be making this again with the real deal.
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper
Adapted from Bon Appétit.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika (and 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
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before using
If using Aleppo pepper, place in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of 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 place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to overnight.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. While the fire is lighting, thread chicken pieces onto skewers, dividing equally. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper or paprika. 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.