Za’tar Chicken with Tzatziki and Spicy Pepper Coulis

Za’tar Chicken with Tzatziki and Spicy Pepper Coulis

by BiteSizedJessica on April 1, 2013

Chicken Skewer © 2013 Jonathan Meter

I don’t often cook or eat Middle Eastern food. Sometimes I’ll grab a falafel sandwich at Taim – great falafel place in the West Village – but that’s pretty much the extent of it. A few weeks ago, I was catering a 30th birthday party and one of the birthday boys loves Middle Eastern food. I wouldn’t say the recipe I came up with is a traditional Middle Eastern dish by any means, but it was well received.

These chicken skewers are great to make for a large group because basically everything involved except the cooking of the chicken can be done several days in advance. It’s an easy recipe and seems like more work than it actually is. You could also make sandwiches with the leftover ingredients the next day (we did).

(Makes 14 Skewers)

For the Za’tar Chicken:

1 c olive oil
1 tbsp marjoram
2 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and ground
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh oregano
1 head garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zested
Freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken breasts

What To Do: 

1. Make sure to soak the wooden skewers for at least 3o minutes so that they don’t burn when you grill the chicken.

2. Portion the chicken into rectangular pieces. Skewer them and marinate in remaining ingredients, at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

3. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, wipe some of the marinade and fresh herbs off before grilling. Heat your grill to medium high and grill chicken skewers for 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. If using an oven, bake the chicken on a sheet tray at 425° for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm with tzatziki and coulis.

For the Tzatziki:
(Can be made the day before)

1 cup Fage yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled and deseeded
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, zested
½ bunch dill, chopped
Few sprigs of mint, chiffonnade
1 lemon, zested
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do:

1. Mix all ingredients together and serve cold.

For the Pepper Coulis:
(Can be made up to 3 days ahead)

3 peppers (I used one red, one yellow and one orange)
½ Serrano chili pepper
3 cloves garlic
3 shallots, finely sliced
Olive oil
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do:

1. Roast the peppers over an open flame until their skin is black and blistery. When they’re completely blackened all over, put them in a bowl and cover the top of it tightly with plastic wrap. This will make them easier to peel once cooled.

2. Slice the shallots and garlic. In a small pot, heat olive oil and sweat the shallots and garlic over medium low heat until they’re softened.

3. Carefully halve and deseed the Serrano pepper. Thinly slice the raw pepper and add it to the shallots and garlic. Be careful not to touch your eyes – these are hot!

4. Peel, deseed and roughly chop the roasted peppers. Add them to the pot and increase the heat, mixing with a wooden spoon to combine everything. When the peppers are sizzling, deglaze with white wine and let it cook off briefly. Reduce the heat to low and add ¼ cup water. Cook until peppers are super soft.

5. Blend the pepper coulis on high until very smooth. Serve with chicken and tzatziki.

Jessi deboning chicken © 2013 Jonathan Meter

© 2013 Jonathan and Jessica Meter

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Oui, Chef April 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

Lovely bites and an awesome photo! I’m traveling to Turkey soon and am bringing an empty suitcase just for bringing home some Z’atar!

BiteSizedJessica April 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Thanks Steve! Turkey sounds amazing, you should definitely bring back some cool spices!

Mama B @ My Edible Journey April 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Oh is that gorgeous looking! And I have all the ingredients and the promise of grilling weather on the horizon. Thanks for sharing!

LunaCafe April 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

Wow, these are gorgeous–what a great shot! …Susan

BiteSizedJessica April 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks Susan! So glad you came to check out our site!

BiteSizedJessica April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Thanks Mama B! These are perfect for grilling.

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