Chicken Kebabs, Middle Eastern-Style
*This recipe is Paleo-friendly and gluten-free*
It’s been almost two months since I last posted, and there have been many things percolating from my end lately. I do have an explanation for my absence; but first, I wanted to thank everyone who stuck around while I was M.I.A in blogosphere. I appreciate it!
So…I left my job. A stable, comfortable job in the public health sector, with great medical and dental benefits and 5 weeks vacation, on-track to 6. There. That was pretty painless to say. Am I insane, you ask? Probably so! You know that crossroad poem? Yup, I was there when the road diverged in the woods, and I took a risk by choosing to walk away from my job. Darn you, Robert Frost.
You got to understand that I wasn’t happy with my career any longer. I have been suffering silently in that office for quite some time now. A few years ago, I found myself sitting in the stairwell crying. It hasn’t been good for me since.
Anyway, the joblessness unfolded at the start of summer, so I thought that I would use the remaining time to focus on taking care of my 3 kids, running long-overdue errands, updating my resume and searching for a new job / career path. I thought that I could use some time to decompress and also do some soul-searching (what do I really want to do in life at 40?).
And so the days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Before I could even take a breath and put my feet up, summer is already waving bye-bye! You wouldn’t believe how much stuff you can fill your days with when you are not at work! Blogging didn’t even play a significant role in all this, as you can see!
Not cooking and blogging seemed counterintuitive at a time when it matters most, since I find so much joy in doing both in times of stress. But I don’t know, I guess I was grieving my job loss more than I thought I would. Also, I have been doing a lot of professional and personal development, since the truth of the matter is, I’ve not been to a job interview in 10 years!
I wish I had a Xanax pill to make everything alright…oops, I retract that sentence! Come to think of it, food always makes me feel alright- not in an emotional eating sort of way, but in a creative and cathartic sort of way. (Xanax not needed at this point!)
Today’s recipe is a staple at home. Not only is it easy to make, it is also oh-so delicious. It’s a recipe that makes use of ground chicken to its fullest potential! All the beautiful spices that blend in with the meat…It’s filled with the heady tones of cardamom, cloves, cumin, and coriander; the sweet fragrance of cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, and allspice; the spicy notes of turmeric, paprika, and pepper; the sunny fresh flavours of lemon and sumac. No wonder this is a mainstay family recipe!
- ~~ For the spice mix ~~
- 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground sumac
- ~~ For the kebabs ~~
- 2 pounds (900 grams) organic ground chicken, preferably a mix of white and dark meat
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- a handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1-1/2s teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 to 5 teaspoons of kebab spice mix [above recipe totals 5 teaspoons]
- Combine all the ground spices.
- Soak wooden skewers in water to prevent them from breaking too easily when exposed to fire.
- In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and kebab spices using your hands.
- Cover the bowl with foil or plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight. Refrigerating the meat mixture will make it easier to shape onto a skewer without falling apart.
- Shape into a balls and slide just enough mixture to fill a wooden skewer. Flatten the meat mixture and form into one long piece. Repeat until all the mixture is done.
- Refrigerate for another 30 minutes to let the kebabs set.
- Prepare the grill by oiling and set on high heat. Grill the kebabs until cooked throughout, about 7 to 8 minutes per side.