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April 18, 2014

BBQ MY WAY: Enjoy some great Greek chicken kabobs

Of all the fun dishes to prepare on the grill, for me, kabobs are near the top. They are colorful, flavorful and flat out fun, with a ton of versatility. You will also be challenged as an outdoor chef, as you are grilling meat, vegetables of varying densities and in some cases, fruit. But, the end results are well worth the challenge.

One word of advise. Do you notice those nicely prepared kabobs in the meat section of your local store? Boy they look good, and all the prep work is done.

What’s not to like about that? Most mix the meat in with the vegetables on the same skewer, a big “no-no” in kabob culinary practicality. Why? Because meat will cook at a different rate than the veggies. They need to be totally separate. Meat on one set of skewers and veggies on another set of skewers.

The grilled chicken and veggies can be served on any sort of rice, but we made a creamy polenta this time around and used that as the “bed” of the dish with the meat and veggies served right on top of it. This recipe served five people easily, and I think we had some leftovers.

Ingredients

4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts — cubed

10 to 12 wooden skewers — soaked in water for half hour

fresh pineapple — cubed

red bell pepper

yellow bell pepper

large whole mushrooms

Marinade half cup olive oil, half cup white wine vinegar, half cup lemon juice, three cloves of garlic, minced, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 Tbs dried oregano, 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Place the cubed, bite-sized chicken pieces in a large zip lock bag and pour the marinade on the chicken.

Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours.

Cut the vegetables and pineapple into bite sized pieces. Leave the mushrooms whole. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper them as well. Place the vegetables on soaked wooden skewers. I have found the mushrooms don’t split as frequently when you pierce them long-ways through the stem and out the top. You can also use small cooked potatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow or green zucchini or green bell peppers.

After a couple of hours of marinating, put the chicken on skewers. The pieces can touch but do not tightly bunch them together. That creates longer cooking times an inconsistent results.

Set up the grill (gas or charcoal) with indirect heat. Place the chicken and veggie skewers on the side opposite the flames and close the grill. Allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Now, move them directly over the heat source to finish cooking. The chicken will take a bit longer than the veggies. You want a nice char on the veggies, and they should still have a bit of crunch to them. Turn frequently. You will need tongs and a spatula. The chicken is done at 155 to 160 degrees. If you are basting with the remaining marinade which the raw chicken was in, you definitely do not want to baste just prior to removing the meat from the grill. Same goes with the veggies.

Serve with your favorite rice or a creamy polenta. Enjoy!

— Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. Liz is his wife. You can contact Dave with your BBQ or grilling questions at BBQ-My-Way.com or at davelobeck@gmail.com

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