The sweet, savory flavors of these skewers really have me craving summer BBQ’s. I’m picturing red and white checkered tablecloths and bees buzzing around the flowers in the backyard. I can almost hear the sound of kids jumping into a pool, almost taste the sweet tang of lemonade… I better stop daydreaming or the wind outside will seem even colder.
Now, this fantastic, summery meal does totally skewer (see what I did there?) the perception that sweet things can’t come in the middle of a meal. In addition to being sweet, though, these neat little rows of chicken cubes are also spicy, garlicky, citrusy, and savory. It’s really all there in this one little package, folks.
I know we often end up eating a whole lot of chicken on the paleo diet. Chicken this, chicken that, even chicken instead of bread. This isn’t your regular old oven-baked chicken breast, though — it comes on a stick, with beautiful grill marks, and it’s not dry at all.
Despite its novelty in the paleo world, chicken kebab is not a brand new thing. In fact, it has been around for quite some time and the Internet seems pretty divided over what sort of ethnic cuisine it should be considered. There are a good number of votes for Mexican (I put mango salsa with these bad boys and it is an amazing combo, let me tell you), a good number for Malaysian, and a few for a more generic “Asian” label.
Also, the kebab, which is the original chicken-on-a-stick situation, comes from the Middle East. (Fun fact: what we in the US call a “kabob” is referred to as a “kebab” everywhere else. It appears the change in spelling comes from an attempt to transliterate the way the word actually sounds in the original Arabic.) I don’t want to be starting a giant debate here, so let’s just agree that honey-lime chicken is extremely yummy and leave it at that.
This recipe is a delight to make. There’s even a Ziplock bag involved. If there is a Ziplock involved, you know it can’t get too fancy. That’s a very good thing, I think.
Now, friends, whip out your baggies and let’s get down to it. Throw in your chicken and your spices and shake it all about. (It’s slightly more complicated than that, but just as much fun.)
The only part of this recipe you’ll really have to think about ahead of time is the act of cooking it. Though, fair warning, you do have to marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least two hours, so it can’t really be considered a last minute meal. In terms of grilling, you’re going to need a grill pan or an actual outdoor BBQ. I suppose you could do it with a regular pan, but it won’t taste the same and you won’t have those nice black grill lines that criss-cross over the meat.
When you grill your skewers, make sure you oil the pan or grill surface. If you don’t, your beautiful chicken cubes will stick to the metal and start piecing apart. You only want them to piece apart in your mouth when your tongue is there to get at all that amazing, juicy flavor.
The heat of the cayenne, the zing of the lime, and the sweet of the honey are all coming together in this chicken-on-a-stick. It seriously tastes like a summer day. I can almost smell the chlorine now.
Now, I don’t want to go getting ahead of myself here. There are still plenty of amazing spring recipes to come (we haven’t even gotten into asparagus season yet!), but if you can find a spot of summer-like sunshine, I recommend eating this chicken in its rays. It makes the whole thing taste even better somehow, I swear. If you can’t locate any warm, yellow, filtering rays of light, that’s okay too. This chicken is a ray of sunshine all its own.
These chicken skewers really would be a perfect dish to bring to a neighborhood BBQ. As far as serving goes, I dished my skewers up with a side of mango salsa and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can put almost anything with them, though. Some of my ideas for future meals include salad, roasted veggies, tangy slaw, and fruits of just about any variety.
I can also tell you that the chicken makes some pretty fantastic leftovers for paleo bowls, soups, and salad toppings, so don’t be afraid to whip up some extra. If you pair your skewers brilliantly with any amazing sides, or if you come up with an amazing second use for your leftover chicken, please let me know in the comments below. I am definitely going to be making this again soon!
- 1 ½ pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¾ tsp salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Coconut oil, for greasing
- Place the chicken cubes in a large ziplock plastic bag.
- To make the marinade, in a bowl add the lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix to combine.
- Pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken.
- Mix to coat.
- Seal the bag and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes.
- Thread the chicken onto skewers.
- Lightly oil a grill pan with coconut oil and preheat on medium high heat.
- Grill the chicken skewers in batches, 3-4 minutes per side or until done.
- Serve with cilantro, lime and your favorite salsa.