On Your Mark, Get Set: Chicken Kebabs!
by Sarah A. Maine
The starting line is: Chicken Kebabs (p. 431 in the Joy of Cooking 1997 edition) – and being first is more nerve wracking than I thought! The kebab recipe in the JoC has two variations built in so it felt like the perfect fork in the road for the beginning of our journey: an Asian inspired Teriyaki version, and a Mediterranean herb version. Right now I’m feeling Mediterranean, a factor of the time my family spent living in Italy when I was in middle and high school.
In Italy kebabs are called spiedini and are made up of chunks of marinated meat (usually chicken or pork) punctuated by vegetables, squares of pancetta, and sometimes sausage. The JoC calls for wrapping the pieces of chicken in bacon and interspersing the chicken with pieces of liver. I’m going to forgo the liver and instead of wrapping the chicken I’ll be using cubes of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats pancetta as an accent.
One of my biggest challenges is that I don’t have a convenient source of local organic poultry, so for now I buy industrial organic chicken breasts at my local grocery store. This is something I want to work on over the course of the relay to bring my meat purchasing in line with my values in a wallet-friendly manner!
I’m a member of a CSA and this year’s season started three weeks ago; I get a box of vegetables (I like to call it “veggie surprise”) each week so I’m making some other substitutions based on what I have at home right now. Where the JoC calls for cherry tomatoes I’m going to use roasted beets and Japanese salad turnips. I have some beautiful garlic scapes that I am thinking of using for the base of my marinade. Finally, instead of the recommended leeks I’m going to use fresh red and white onions from last week’s farmer’s market – they should add sweetness and a satisfying crunch to the mix.
I’m off to bring these kebabs to life – check back with Recipe Relay on Thursday to see my finished recipe! – Sarah