Spiedini are the Italian version of kebabs (spiedino=singular form). By marinating the chicken in a flavorful bath of Sauvignon Blanc, Ancho chili powder, rosemary, and other aromatics, a sweet, spicy acidic tang infuses the thigh meat and compliments the grill’s intense heat and char. A gentle piney-herb bouquet emerges from the marinade’s chopped rosemary and its stems which act as skewers.
In America, most outdoor picnic or dinner parties involve grilled items. Tempted with juicy burgers, beef hot dogs, hot links, and BBQ ribs, these parties can be hard to navigate if you want to follow a healthy diet. Of course, occasionally digesting these meats won’t harm your health, but if you attend these events regularly, summer after summer, they will. Instead of relying on potato salad and cole slaw in order to remain nutritionally on track, bring these easy to assemble spiedini to your next grill party.
With spiedini, you will increase your vegetable intake, since the meat is bound between mushrooms and onions. Pair the dish with my olive and parsley sauce (http://www.gabriellemyers.com/parsley-and-olive-sauce.html), and eating spiedini becomes a nourishing dining experience.
1 cup red onion, small diced
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon rosemary, roughly chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ Sauvignon Blanc
2 teaspoons Ancho chili, ground
1.5-2 pounds chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)
1. Wash and dry the chicken.
2. Prepare the marinade and place it and the chicken in a gallon size plastic bag.
3. Let the chicken marinate for about 3-5 hours in the refrigerator.
Chicken pulled from the marinade, each thigh cut into six-eight pieces
1 red onion, cut in half, cut into small wedges, then divided into two (roughly ten-twelve total wedges, divided into two small wedges each)
1 packet of crimini mushrooms, washed and stems cut*
12 rosemary stems, about ten to twelve inches long*
1. Wash the rosemary stems by submerging them in cold water for 2 minutes.
2. Lift the stems out of the water, and pull the leaves off of the stems.
3. Set the rosemary leaves aside for other uses.
4. Lift the chicken out of the marinade, and brush off any onions that cling to the meat.
5. Place the thighs one-by-one on a cutting board, and divide each thigh into six-eight rough square-like pieces (the yield depends on the size of the thigh).
6. Place the cut chicken in a stainless steel bowl. If it is hot in your kitchen, be sure to place that bowl on top of another bowl that has ice in it.
7. Turn the grill on medium heat so that it is nice and hot by the time you have assembled the spiedini.
8. Set up the bowls or plates of rosemary stems, chicken pieces, mushrooms, and onions in order.
9. Begin to assemble the spiedini. Start with a chicken piece, which the rosemary stem’s hard, thick end should easily push through. Then alternate between mushroom, onion, and chicken until the stem is filled. Do allow for an inch on each end of the stem so that you can pick the spiedino up.
10. When all of the spiedini are assembled, take them out to the grill.
11. Put about a tablespoon of olive or avocado oil on a dry paper towel or grill rag. Let the oil absorb into the rag, and then run the rag over the grill grates to season the grill.
12. Season the spiedini with salt and black pepper.
13. Place the spiedini on the grill. Cook them for about 4-5 minutes, turn slightly, and cook for another 4-5 minutes to ensure caramelization before turning over and cooking them in the same manner on the other side.
14. Once the meat is cooked through, the other ingredients will be as well. Be sure to check for doneness before serving—no one wants to eat undercooked chicken.
15. Remove the spiedini from the grill, and place them on a plate for service. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of parsley and olive sauce (http://www.gabriellemyers.com/parsley-and-olive-sauce.html),
or throw leaves of torn, fresh basil and a generous sprinkle of robust extra virgin olive oil over the spiedini and serve.
*If you don’t grow your own rosemary, you can find these long stems through vendors at local farmers’ markets. Substitute wooden skewers if you cannot locate the long rosemary stems. Be sure to soak the wooden skewers in cold water for about 5 minutes before using them, which will prevent them from burning on the grill.
*Zucchini acts as a fine substitute for the mushrooms. Cut the zucchini in half, and then cut it into inch-thick half moons. One-two medium zucchini should suffice.