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Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper

★★★★

  • 1 ½ tablespoons Aleppo pepper* or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet spicy paprika, plus additional Aleppo pepper or paprika for sprinkling
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
  • 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
  • 1 unpeeled lemons; thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 ¼ lbs. skinless boneless chicken (thighs and/or breast halves), cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • Special equipment: Flat metal skewers
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. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Prepare barbecue (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.

This was a meal we prepared for friends. We needed to double the recipe and so did a combination of boneless thighs whole and kebabs. The chicken was moist and tender and flavorful (especially the lightly charred tips and edges.) Aleppo pepper was elusive in our area and we did not anticipate finding any. Sweet pepper is usually available at the grocery store, but it was the hubby that made the grocery run and he wasn’t able to find it. Likely it would help if spices weren’t kept in 3 places at our local store. So in the end we modified a bit. In addition to the chicken we also prepared the recipe for the mashed potatoes.

Rustic Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

★★★

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ to ¾ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2 to 3 ounce shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine potatoes and water in slow cooker; dot with butter. Cover; cook on LOW 6 hours or on HIGH 3 hours or until potatoes are tender.
Whip potatoes with electric mixer at medium setting until well blended. Add milk, salt and pepper; whip until well blended.
Stir in green onions and cheese. Cover; let stand 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend and cheese to melt.

This was not the most spectacular mashed potato recipe we’ve ever prepared, but I did appreciate the ease of using the crockpot. We had these going all day and when the chicken went on the grill, that’s when the mashing happened. The could easily be made tastier by adjusting the seasoning and maybe using blue cheese in place of the cheddar.

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