Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aleppo Pepper Kebabs

Aleppo pepper, where have you been all my life? I know, you may not have heard of this one. I hadn't either until my brother gave me some from Penzey's as part of an amazing gift of spices and herbs. It's a Turkish chili that's similar to an ancho though more tart and a bit spicier. It's less spicy than the traditional crushed red pepper you find in every pizza joint and has a bit of sweetness, too. If you can find it without too much hassle, I would highly recommend you use it for this kebab recipe.  The yogurt keeps the chicken unbelievable moist and tender, while the pepper adds just the right amount of heat and a full blat of flavor. I used wooden skewers soaked in water for a half hour prior to cooking and cooked these under the broiler.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper
from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper* or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, plus 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

If using Aleppo pepper, place in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon 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 chill at least 1 hour.

Prepare barbecue or broiler (medium-high heat). Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper or paprika. Brush grill rack with oil. 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.

Cooking this recipe also reminded me of this great flat bread recipe using more spices from my brother. mmmmm…

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring flowers and poetry

The Moment
by Marie Howe

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when,   nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today-list

maybe   half a moment

the rush of traffic stops.

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.

Happy spring and World Poetry Day!