First, I must apologize to the readers who have subscribed to receive recipe posts via email. Yesterday, I inadvertently sent a draft of this post. Although I am sure to make an occasional ‘woops’ (my family would tease that I make them daily!), it is truly my goal not to send pointless emails.
The following dish is one of several reader recipes I have enjoyed in the past weeks as I work on a summer grilling project for the Lancaster Sunday News. Donika Oran, of Mom! What’s for Dinner?, thoughtfully shared one of her favorite recipes in these Grilled Chicken Kabobs. Donika mentioned that the low fat content of ground chicken breast can make it dry, but the added veggies in this recipe supply moisture and flavor, not to mention extra nutrients.
This recipe takes a little time to prep, but it can be mixed in advance and grilled when ready to eat. It makes enough to feed a crowd or provide leftovers, although the recipe can easily be cut in half (I would suggest still using one whole egg, although you could just use the white). When I first starting forming the chicken mixture around the skewer, it seemed too heavy for the stick. When I began with a smaller portion of meat and worked it farther up the skewer, the kabobs held beautifully. In the recipe below, I share some of my tips and a few adaptations to Donika’s delicious recipe.
These kabobs were a particular hit with my kids, and we all enjoyed leftovers for lunch the following day. If skewers aren’t readily available or time is short, simply form the mixture into patties. They make a satisfying chicken burger with tomato, lettuce, avocado or your toppings of choice. Or skip the bun and top them with tzatziki sauce or a dollop of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt flavored with Sriracha sauce.
Yields 12 kabobs plus 6 quarter-pound burgers.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large halves)
- 1 carrot
- 1 small onion
- 1 green onion
- 1 small tomato
- 1 cup loosely packed parsley
- 1/2 green bell pepper (I substituted 1 jalapeño pepper with some of the seeds removed)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 -2 cups plain bread crumbs (may use gluten-free bread; see notes)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon Montreal chicken seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Optional: Mix of a couple tablespoons each melted butter and olive oil for brushing on kabobs at the end
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes or more prior to grilling.
- Cut each chicken breast into a few pieces. Roughly chop the vegetables and mince the garlic. Combine the seasoning mix and set aside.
- In food processor process the vegetables until minced (but not a paste), scraping the sides down once or twice. Remove to a mixing bowl. Stir in the spice mixture, eggs, and bread crumbs. Set aside.
- Add the chicken to the processor and process until ground into very small pieces. Transfer to the mixing bowl, and fully incorporate into the vegetable mixture. (I find this easiest to do with my clean hands.)
- If the mixture is too soft to mold onto the skewers at this point, mix in the remaining bread crumbs. Shape the kabobs onto the skewer, using about 1/3 of a cup of the chicken mixture per skewer. You can eyeball this, but if you make them too big they may droop from the skewer. It took me one or two to get a feel for forming the mixture onto the skewer so it stayed.
- Grill over low heat, turning and cooking evenly until just cooked through, taking care not to overcook. Exact time will depend on size of kabobs and precise level of heat. Remove to a platter, and brush with the optional melted butter/olive oil mix.
- If you don't have fresh bread crumbs on hand, process a couple pieces of bread before you mince the vegetables, and then transfer 1 1/2 cups of the crumbs to the mixing bowl.
- You may prepare the chicken mixture several hours in advance and refrigerate until ready to shape onto skewers or into patties. This also makes the mixture firmer and easier to shape.
- Donika likes to have a small bowl of olive oil on hand as she shapes the kabobs. This will help keep the chicken mixture from sticking to your hands and provide extra flavor and protection from sticking to the grill.