My trusty Weber grill seemed sad that I hadn’t used it much this summer. (Or was it the other way around?) Either way, my charcoal grill needed to see some action, and I needed to feast on some grilled meats—which always taste better when cooked over charcoal, by the way.
It’s meals like these where I really enjoy the cooking process. I literally do everything on the grill, including my side dishes if I can. There’s just something so fun about cooking outside (besides the fact that I’m not in my sweltering kitchen) and over an open flame.
Maybe it’s because I get to pick peppers and eggplants off their respective plants and put them straight on the grill. Or maybe it’s because sitting out by the grill in the summer with a beer in your hand just feels RIGHT. Perfect. Freeing. American. (Strange, but true. Those corporate beer commercials really work!) Or that Doug actually sits and talks to me rather than watching the Yankees game (yup, I said it). Or that grilling really is an art form, and it takes a deft hand and a watchful eye to make sure your dinner doesn’t look like roadkill.
Yes, cooking outside is a wonderful. So the only solution was to find stuff in my fridge that I could throw together on the grill and eat on the flatbreads I had picked up at the store. Anything marinated in yogurt is fine by me, so I jumped on this recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kabobs with Aleppo Pepper as soon as I came across it on Epicurious. It’s super easy and pretty tasty, especially when paired with some romaine lettuce, grilled veggies and a smear of tahini-spiked yogurt on a whole-wheat flatbread.
Let’s call it summer on a flatbread, shall we?
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebab Flatbreads with Aleppo Pepper
This Turkish barbeque recipe is adapted (but not much) from Musa Dagdeviren. Aleppo pepper is sold finely ground or crushed into small flakes—either one will work well in this recipe. It’s a Syrian pepper with fruity undertones and a medium spice level. You can buy Aleppo pepper at some supermarkets, specialty shops and at thespicehouse.com. Serves 4. Click here to download the printable copy of this recipe!
½ c. Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. tahini paste
1 Tbs. lemon juice + more as needed
1½ Tbs. Aleppo pepper or 2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper plus 2 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, plus additional Aleppo pepper or paprika for sprinkling
1 c. plain (8 oz.) whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
2 unpeeled lemons; 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving
2¼ pounds skinless boneless chicken (thighs and/or breast halves), cut into 1¼-inch cubes
4 flatbreads or no pocket pitas
4 large leaves of romaine lettuce
2 grilled bell peppers, sliced
2 grilled onions, sliced
Equipment: Metal skewers or wooden skewers soaked in water for at least 15 minutes
Make yogurt sauce. Combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice and tahini paste in a bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.
Marinate chicken. If using Aleppo pepper, place in large bowl and mix in 1 Tbs. warm water. Let stand until thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. If using dried crushed red pepper and paprika combination, place in large bowl and stir in 2 Tbs. warm water and let stand until paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 tsp. coarse salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Grill kebobs. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper or paprika. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter and surround with lemon wedges. Quickly warm the flatbreads over the grill. Let every one make their own flatbreads with the chicken and the lettuce, grilled onions, peppers, and yogurt sauce.