Don’t you just love summer evenings and all the opportunities that come with lighter later and a nice warm breeze! Concerts in town parks, outdoor theatre, movies on the lawns, bands playing at the vineyards until twilight, sunsets at the beach, and that’s just what I saw on the calendar for this week. Having the perfect picnic for each of these evenings isn’t hard when you start with these lime and mint marinated chicken kebabs.
You can make them in advance, the lime and mint give the chicken a fresh light summery flavor, they are great cold and make the perfect chicken salad lunch the next day at work, if there are any leftover that is. I served these kebabs with a dollop of tzatziki, couscous with pine nuts and a green salad at Corey Creek Vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island this week and they were a huge hit! If you’re not picnicking or don’t prefer kebabs this marinade works well on chicken cutlets or boneless chicken breasts but this recipe will give you the details you need to make kebabs.
After you zest the limes put the zest aside and mix all remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. If you don’t have a food processor or blender you can make the marinade in a jar or bowl too. For that you’ll just need to crush the garlic, finely chop the mint and mix all marinade ingredients thoroughly. Either way keep the zest out until the final step and then mix the zest into the marinade before pouring over the chicken cubes.
When cutting the chicken into cubes try to keep the cubes about the same size so they cook evenly on the grill. The cubed chicken can be put in the marinade hours in advance – it’s actually better when it’s had at least a few hours to marinate. If you’ve been keeping up with my marinade recipes you know I think ziplock bags are great for putting the meat and marinade into but anything that has enough room for the chicken cubes to be spread out and be covered with marinade works. Remember to rotate the bag / mix up the cubes every 45 minutes or so so the chicken is marinated equally.
When you’re ready to start cooking take the chicken out and put it on skewers. I use long wooden skewers and leave a little space between each chicken cube. Place them on the grill and turn regularly until chicken is completely cooked. Once the chicken is cooked I cut the skewers in half so they are individual servings (2-3 chicken cubes per 1/2 stick). This size fits perfectly in a container and makes for easier serving at your picnic.
When serving the kebabs don’t skimp on the julienned mint – it’s not just garnish. The added mint flavor with the cooked chicken is worth the extra few minutes of cutting. Julienne mint? What? What? It’s easy! Remove 15 mint leaves from the stems. After rinsing the leaves roll 4-5 leaves together and cut starting at the end into thin strips. The result is strips of mint that can be sprinkled over the kebabs like streamers before serving.
lime & mint marinated chicken kebabs
- Chicken - 3 ½ lbs
- Lime juice – ½ cup
- Simple Syrup – 3 tablespoons
- Limes – 2 zested and juiced
- Garlic cloves – 6
- Fresh mint – 1 ½ cups and 15 leaves for serving
- Vegetable oil – ½ cup
- Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Preparing the marinade:
- Zest limes and set zest aside
- Juice limes
- Put all ingredients except lime zest in food processor and puree
- Pour mix into a bowl
- Add zest and mix thoroughly
- Preparing the chicken:
- Cut chicken breasts into even cubes
- Put cubes into a quart size ziploc or large shallow dish
- Pour marinade over cubes and ensure all cubes are covered
- Rotate chicken every 45 minutes or so to ensure even coverage of marinade
- Remove cubes from marinade and skewer leaving space between each cube
- Grill skewers turning regularly until chicken is completely cooked
- When serving sprinkle individual kebabs with julienned mint