The goal here was pretty simple a chicken kebab that was as flavorful and tender as a beef version.
Getting that would call for an acidic marinade with some seriously oomphy flavor. For the base, I turned to the classic oil and vinegar. Not wanting to discolor the chicken, but wanting the flavor of balsamic, I used white balsamic. You also could use cider.
For flavor and a bit more acid, I added some white wine (plus, it's an excuse to drink the rest of the bottle while the meat marinates). After that, it was classic, high-flavor ingredients – hot sauce (just enough to heighten the other flavors, but not add noticeable heat), garlic, fresh ginger and hoisin (for serious savory goodness).
That's it. About 1 1/2 hours of hands-off marinating and you end up with some seriously flavorful chicken.
Garlic-Balsamic Chicken Kebabs
Start to finish: 2 hours (20 minutes active)
cup olive oil
cup white balsamic vinegar
cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut into bite-size chunks
In a blender, combine the olive oil, vinegar, wine, hot sauce, hoisin, garlic, salt, peppercorns and ginger. Purée until smooth. Reserve half of the marinade and refrigerate it.
Pour the remaining marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken and onions, then stir gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 1/2 hours.
When the chicken is ready to cook, heat a grill to high. Oil the grates or coat them with cooking spray.
Divide the meat and onion chunks between 4 skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes first). Reduce the heat on one side of the grill to low. Arrange the skewers on the cooler side of the grill, then cover and cook 6 minutes, turning frequently, or until an instant thermometer reads 165 F at the center of the chicken.
Serve the skewers with the reserved marinade for dipping.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 336 calories; 142 calories from fat; 16 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 82 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 33 g protein; 1 g fiber; 614 mg sodium.