Moroccan chicken skewers
Makes 4 servings
Grilled lemon halves topped with a drizzle of honey provide a tangy counterpoint to the chicken. The chicken receives a mixture of spices inspired by a chermoula recipe in Mourad Lahlou’s Nouveau Marocain. Chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or mint bring a lively color and vegetal freshness to the dish. Use whichever you prefer, or a combination.
Thirty minutes is the maximum time to marinate the chicken, or the lemon juice and ginger will make it mushy.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for serving
2 medium garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of honey, divided
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into thirds crosswise
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, flat leaf parsley or mint
Using a baguette-style grater, grate 1 lemon to produce 1 tablespoon of zest. Then squeeze the lemon to obtain 2 tablespoons of juice. In a large bowl, combine the zest and juice with the oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, cilantro, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey. Add the chicken, mix and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Heat the grill with a rack 4 inches from the element.
Thread chicken onto four 12-inch metal skewers, crumpling several pieces on each skewer; place the skewers on the prepared grill. Cut the remaining 2 lemons in half and arrange cut side up next to the chicken.
Grill until chicken is charred, 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking; lemon halves should be charred on the cut sides.
Transfer the skewers and lemon halves to a dish. Pour the remaining honey over the cut sides of the lemons. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs. Serve with the remaining lemon halves.
Piri piri chicken
Makes 4 servings
Piri piri can refer to a chili sauce that stains the fingers or anything that the sauce turns off. Its origins are Portuguese, but it is found today in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. Ancho, chipotle, and regular chili powders taste bad in this recipe, but chili powders from New Mexico or California work well. If you can’t find either, buy whole peppers, grill and seed them, then grind them finely. Or just leave the chili powder aside and increase the paprika to ¼ cup. Fresno peppers are fresh red peppers similar in size and shape to jalapeños, but with sharp tips; if not available, fresh cherry peppers also work well.
Be sure to use the specified number of fresh peppers in the sauce; all eight are needed for flavor and color. To reduce heat, remove some or all of the seeds and ribs from the peppers before processing. In addition, Thai peppers are not a good substitute for Fresnos; they pack a lot more heat.
3 tablespoons New Mexico or California chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
4 to 4 ½ pound whole chicken, spatchcocked (see following instructions)
2 tablespoons of white sugar
8 medium Fresno peppers, hulled and quartered (see note)
3 medium garlic cloves
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
¼ cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
In a medium bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, cilantro, paprika and 1½ tbsp of salt. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to a small bowl, set the rest aside. Loosen the skin of the chicken breast and thighs by gently running your fingers between it and the flesh. Using a teaspoon, evenly distribute the 2 tablespoons of the spice blend under the skin, then rub it into the flesh. Place the chicken on a baking sheet.
In a food processor, combine the reserved spice blend with the sugar, peppers and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the bowl as needed. With the machine running, pour in the lemon juice and vinegar; process until smooth, scraping the bowl once or twice. Measure ¼ cup of the sauce, reserving the rest for later, and brush the chicken evenly, including the bone sides. Let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare a grill for indirect cooking at high temperature. For a charcoal grill, evenly distribute a large fireplace of hot coals on one side of the grill bed; open the bottom vents of the grille. For a gas grill, set half the burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grid.
Place chicken, skin side up, on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Using tongs, rotate the chicken 180 degrees to bring the other side of the chicken closest to the heat. Cover and cook until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees and the thighs reach 175 degrees, another 25 to 35 minutes.
Brush the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce, then use tongs to flip it skin side down on the hot side of the grill. Cook until the skin is lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the skin side down to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro to the remaining sauce, then baste the chicken again. Serve with the sauce on the side.
How to spatchcock a chicken
Spatchcocking – also known as butterfly – involves removing a chicken’s spine to flatten it, allowing it to cook faster and more evenly. To do this, place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. Using sturdy kitchen scissors, cut along one side of the spine from top to bottom. Repeat the cut on the other side of the spine, then remove and discard the spine (or save it for the broth). Spread out the sides of the chicken, opening it like a book and flattening it as much as possible. Flip the chicken breast upside down, then use your hands to press down firmly on the center to flatten the bird. The breastbone can crack.
Grilled Chicken Tare With Soy Sauce
Makes 4 servings
In Japanese cuisine, tare (pronounced tah-reh) is a seasoning liquid made from high impact ingredients to create a deep, umami-rich flavor. The base can be miso, sesame paste, or even salt, but soy sauce (shoyu, in Japanese) is the most common. Among its many uses, tare can be added to broths, made into dips, or brushed as a basting sauce on grilled foods. Here we prepare a simple shoyu tare to season bone-in grilled chicken thighs that have been cut to allow the fat to melt and the seasoning to soak in. The recipe makes about ¾ cup of tare but you will only need ½ cup for the chicken; the rest will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Keep the shiitakes after having drained them from the tare. The tasty and sweet mushrooms can be sliced and used in stir-fries, fried rice, or noodle dishes.
For the tare:
½ cup of mirin
½ cup of sake
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
For the chicken:
3 pounds boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black or white pepper
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
4 green onions, thinly sliced
To make the tare, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the mirin, sake, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and simmer, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl and press down on the solids to extract any liquid; you should have about ¾ cup. Measure ‚cup of tare for watering.
To cook the chicken, prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, evenly distribute a large fireplace of hot coals on one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 minutes, then clean and oil the grill. For a gas grill, put all burners on high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grid; leave the main burner on and set the remaining burner (s) to low.
While the grill is heating, using a sharp knife, cut 2 parallel, evenly spaced notches on each chicken thigh, cutting them to the bone. Season both sides of the thighs with S&P. Place chicken skin-side up on the colder side of the grill. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Lightly brush the tare pieces, then cover again and cook until the thickest part of the thighs not touching the bone reaches 175 degrees, about an additional 15 to 20 minutes, brushing every 4 to 5 minutes with more tare.
Flip the skin of the chicken to the colder side of the grill. Brush the bone side with the rest of the tare
reserved for basting and baking until skin side is lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Flip the chicken bone down on the hot side of the grill and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a dish. Squeeze 2 lemon wedges, garnish with green onions and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the remaining tare. Let stand 5 minutes, then serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side.
Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, which is home to a magazine, a school, and radio and TV shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of full digital access, plus two issues of the print magazine Milk Street, for just $ 1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send your comments to [email protected]