- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (two large breasts)
- 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/2 large lemon
- 1 heaping tablespoon Gourmet Gardens® Ginger Paste
- 1 heaping tablespoon Gourmet Gardens® Garlic Paste
- 1 heaping tablespoon grated onion
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon Rose Mountain Cinnamon (Cassia) Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon Redman's® Real Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormack® Peppercorn Medley
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
The day before, decide if you want to roast whole chicken breasts or roast chunks on skewers. If the former, evaluate your chicken breasts. If the large end is overly thick, then pound it just a bit to even out the chicken. Just a bit.
If the latter, take the chicken breasts and slice them down the middle lengthwise. Then, cut four times crosswise. If you start at the smaller end, you can do a better job of making sure the cubes are similar in size, so that they cook evenly. This makes a total of 16 cubes of chicken. Place the chicken in a large, shallow glass bowl.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, starting with the yogurt and lemon juice, mixing them thoroughly before continuing. Then add the ginger, garlic, and onion.
[I prefer the Gourmet Gardens® products in recipes like this because it is easy to have equal amounts of both garlic and ginger and the pastes. I do not measure them out so much as make a rather large dollop in the bowl.]
Finish with the dry ingredients. The cayenne will provide a bit of heat to the dish. If you prefer spicy, you could add more.
Scrap the yogurt marinade over the chicken and toss thoroughly. If roasting breasts, ensure there is plenty of marinade beneath them. If choosing skewers, toss until all sides of the cubes are coated. With both, smooth the marinade over the top of the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
[It is popular to do a marinade in a plastic bag. However, you are going to want to have as much marinade as possible as you place it in the oven, so a bowl is best.]
Preheat oven to 450 degrees (if whole breasts)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (if cubed pieces on skewers)
If roasting whole breasts, carefully lift out the chicken meat and place on a metal pan (lined with foil if you want easy clean-up), ensuring the bottom of the meat is coated with marinade. Using a spoon, drop some of the remaining marinade on the top of the breasts to make sure they are thickly and evenly coated. You can smooth it out with the back of the spoon.
Roast until the center of the thickest part of the meat reaches 165 degrees, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the oven to high broil and brown the top of the marinade, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest five minutes before cutting. Slice into thick slabs. Serves four.
If using skewers, soak bamboo ones in water for 30 minutes. Approximately half-way through, begin preheating the oven.
When the skewers are ready, thread the chunks onto the skewers. If putting four pieces on a skewer (recommended), you'll want to use two bamboo ones so they don't bend down to the pan with the weight of the meat and marinade. [Next time I plan to use metal skewers.] You want to place them across the top of a baking pan with high sides, such as a 9x13 cake pan (lined with foil if you want easy clean-up), so that you can rest the meat up off the bottom of the pan.
Roast until the center of the meat reaches 165 degrees, approximately 15-20 minutes. Switch the oven to high broil and finish browning the marinade, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest five minutes before removing from the skewers and serving. Serves four.
Myrtle's Note: I cooked half the meat whole and half on skewers. I had cooked skewers for the Chicken Tikka Masala, and I was basically trying to come up with the way to cook the meat since the original idea is for a whole turkey breast. I wanted to experience both cooking methods. For the whole breast, I went looking for advice on roasting chicken and found a post about how chicken dries out the longer it is in the oven, so higher temperatures creates moister meat. Oh, my! Was the author ever right.
The whole breast meat is insanely moist. You have a thick coating of marinade that flavors each bite of the slices. I ate half warm, with roasted broccoli. I ate a quarter cold, because I was curious. And a quarter with saffron rice. Even the leftovers were moist.
The skewers are still moist, but have a different sort of taste, being smaller cuts and coated on all four sides. I might prefer them, but I just don't know. I ate the first half with grilled ginger mustard summer squash. For me, being single, I'll definitely cook the two breasts both ways again so that I can have the flexibility in my leftovers.
My dear friend Mary suggested making the skewers with veggies, such as tomatoes and onions, which is how swish tawook is made. I think I would create an olive oil based marinade, toss the veggies in it, and put them on their own skewers, mixing chicken and veggies atop a middle easter rice pilaf.
Of course, the skewer-roasted meat would also do well with hummus, baba ganoush, labneh, and naan. Or you could serve it in gyro bread. The possibilities are endless!
The flavor is amazing! You can taste the lemon and turmeric and cinnamon and the heat from the cayenne. I really enjoyed eating this chicken and am glad someone mentioned the concept to me!
Finally, get the Rose Mountain cinnamon. It will change your life. You will never regret it! [And their cumin. And Ancient Forest Tea.]
Yield: Four servings
Source: Myrtle; an idea from a friend who had something like this for roasting turkey breast.