Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Broiled Chicken Skewers

I'm listening to the whir of my Kitchen-Aid running for the last 10 minutes on high speed. What a work horse. It's stirring these Momofuku Compost Cookies that I'll be sure to post about later because if the cookies are as good as the dough was - well - let's just say I'll be needing to donate some cookies to someone real fast. What did our Grandmother's do without stand mixers? As I sit and think about that, I can remember what it means to not have an electric mixer. When I was about 10 years old I was using the hand mixer to beat whipping cream into the topping for Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Pie when it frizzed out. Just up and died. No more beating beaters. So, what did that 10 year old girl do? I got out the whisk and whisked away for what seemed like an eternity to a 10 year old girl, but I made whipped cream! Good memories - and I'm positive I tell that story every year at the Thanksgiving table. Today has nothing to do with whipped cream or cookies, though. Sorry. Today is chicken! 
Alright. Are you ready to make dinner appear on the table in under 30 minutes? No, cut that. Thirty is way too long when your list of to-do's is obnoxiously long, meetings to be at, preschool registration forms to fill out, yoga certification manuals to study, art projects to finish, laundry rooms to organize. Am I sounding panicky? I'm going gamble and say this meal can be done in 20 minutes. No, I'm doubling down to say it most assuredly can be done in 20 minutes. You just need to marinate the chicken in the morning. No, cut that. You really don't need to marinate it, but you could if you wanted to be really organized and smart and everything good in the world but we know no one can be all those things because of that panicky list I just rattled off. You're going to feel great and all those things and more when you feed your family this meal because they'll be thankful they had someone to cook for them food that is healthy and they are fortunate enough to get a hot meal three times a day. Let's just stick with that. Now get out your chicken and curry powder. Or, if you just made a spice order from the new spice shop in Buffalo - get out your Malaysian Satay Seasoning, some brown sugar and canola oil. Now rub that all over the chicken and either marinate it for a day, 30 minutes, or 30 seconds, you pick. Don't stress. 
Now, prepare your baking sheet with tinfoil and a cooling rack, like the ones you cool your cookies on, then thread the lovely yellow chicken unto skewers. If you can, invest in some metal skewers. I had too many bamboo skewers light into fire bombs on the grill before I smarted up and purchased a pack of metal ones for a measly $3.99. But, if you just have the bamboo ones, soak them in water for 30 minutes or so to prevent a small oven fire. Or, just go rogue and put these chicken pieces on a foil-lined cookie sheet, no skewers. You're the boss. Do you what you want - there are no rules in cooking. 
Are you proficient in broiler use? I think a lot of people are scared of it, but when you live in the land of snow and ice you need to get creative without a grill. The broiler can be temperamental. You need to babysit it. 

To set up your broiler take a 2 foot piece of tinfoil and roll it into a snake-like shape. Prop your oven door open with the snake because if the oven gets too hot from the broiler, it's going to turn off and your chicken will get mad at you because uncooked chicken is very salmonella-ey. So, as you broil your chicken skewers you need to open the oven door and peek every 2 minutes or so. It's ok - your oven will need to release some of the heat. Broilers get HOT.  
Good! You did it! You want to see little blackened edges and the chicken should be firm and the juices should be running clear. Now, I've lost track of time - I was suppose to be telling you how to get this on the table in about 20 minutes. I've forgotten that you need to cook rice and steam something green, but you've been babysitting the broiler for the last 10 minutes - so you've only got 10 minutes! ACCKKK. Now, I am stressed out. Deep breaths, this isn't real - I'm in a dream. Wake up! If you want, you could've started the rice before you started the skewers. And now that the skewers are done and resting, start steaming something green. Ok, back on track. We did it! Dinner is going to be served without a panic attack. 

Tell me, how do you use your broiler?

Printable Recipe Here

Broiled Chicken Skewers

recipe adapted from Season with Spice

Yield: Serves 4 with sides


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or vegetable
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 or 6 kabob sticks

Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breast into 1” cubes and skewer 4-6 pieces onto each kabob stick (note: if using wooden kabobs make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to broiling if you don’t want a fire in your oven.). 

Turn oven to broil mode and prop the door open (or the broiler will turn off) with a 2’ piece of tinfoil wrapped into a long snake shape. Place oven rack in upper third of the oven, about 8” from the heating unit. 

Line a baking tray with tinfoil and place an oven-safe rack on top of the lined baking tray. Optionally, you can spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray for easier clean-up. Place chicken skewers on baking rack. 

Once the broiler has been running for 3-5 minutes and is warmed up, put chicken in the oven. Broil on one side for 5-7 minutes, checking every couple minutes on the progress of the broiler - it can turn off if the oven gets too hot. Once the chicken is getting blackened in spots, remove from oven, flip, and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven once cooked through. Serve with tzatiki, rice and something green. 

Again, you need to babysit the broiler. Check every couple minutes to ensure the broiler is running and the chicken isn’t burning. The broiler can be temperamental!