Spicy Chicken Skewer Kebabs and Chipped Potatoes with Alioli

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Spicy Chicken Skewer Kebabs and Chipped Potatoes with Alioli

Spicy Chicken Skewer Kebabs and Chipped Potatoes with Alioli

This is a really simple meal that tastes like you would have spent all day making it. It’s so simple, you don’t even need to peel potatoes!

I guess the origins of this dish are a mix of takeaways, Indian and French. In  France, when we visit a market, they cook a variation of these potatoes in the street and add in all manner of ‘extras’ like onion, chorizo, mushrooms and cheese. Basically, I just chuck in whatever is in my fridge needing getting rid of.

And for best results for this dish, I would recommend a BBQ finish. If it’s the depths of winter and you don’t have a BBQ, don’t panic, the grill will work just fine too. But I have one of those Japanese ‘Konro’ BBQ’s…basically a stove top indoor BBQ with real charcoal, and this just gives a lovely smokey finish and browning to the dish, even in mid January.

As regard to the Alioli, you can either make a ‘quick and dirty’ garlic mayo using shop bought mayo, or go the ‘Whole Hogg’ and make your own up from scratch!

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Chicken breast fillets
Low Fat Natural Yogurt
Potatoes
Onion
Garlic
Chilli Flakes/Chilli Powder/Spices of your choosing
Olive Oil
Butter
Egg Yolks
Mustard

To get the best from the chicken in this recipe, I would suggest using fresh (preferably free range) chicken breasts and marinading the chicken for 3-4 hours in a fridge. But first, let me tell you how to create the marinade:

This recipe gets it’s flavour from the chicken that soaks up all the flavours from the spices that you decide to use, mixed in with the yogurt. I have been quite vague here as there are thousands of variations of spice mix that you could go for. The basic would be a chilli marinade and I myself favour a jerk type marinade that uses more herbs and pimiento peppercorns as well as garlic, ginger, chilli, sage and oregano and so on…I’ve even done this with curry powder and garam masala and that was delicious too!

But, the dish, aside from the choice of spices, is pretty much the same, and the idea is to soften the chicken in a spicey yogurt marinade for a few hours before cooking. To do this, simple pour some yogurt into a bowl. Add your spices to taste, a little bit by bit, stir and keep tasting. I find that you need to ideally go slightly stronger than your ideal taste off the spoon because by the time the marinade is absorbed and then cooked on an open heat, the flavour can mellow a bit.

Chop the chicken breast into bite size chunks and remove the chicken skin if it hasn’t been already. Drop the chicken pieces, that should be about 2 inches each in size, into the marinade and using your hands, ensure all the chicken is covered and smothered in the yogurt mix. Plonk this in the fridge, covered with a lid or cellophane for the whole afternoon ideally, but at least an hour. Wash your hands!

The ‘potato’ element is easier still. Simply wash the potatoes, cut into cubes with skins still on, and add some oil and a knob or two of butter to a frying pan and gently heat until the oil starts to bubble. Add chopped garlic, onion, chorizo (if required), and any choice of spices, along with the potatoes. And toss the potatoes regulary to absorb all the oils and spices.

You can ‘parboil’ the potatoes if you want to create this dish more quickly, but I prefer to cook in the pan from raw, slowly, as the potatoes will absorb more of the flavours and be less starchy, plus the cooking of the chicken meanwhile will take a little time and this will give you something useful to do so you don’t get bored.

Decide next how you are to cook your chicken, if on a BBQ then this should have been lit previously and at a decent heat now. If you’re using the grill, then fire this up. Line a grill pan with tin foil.

Then, whilst the grill is coming up to temperature, find some skewers, either wooden disposable ones or metal ones, and add the chicken. Ensure you don’t add the chicken as far up the chicken as the handle and leave the same sort of distance at the other end too. You’ll be left with some yogurt in the bowl after skewering all the meat – you can spoon this over the chicken on the skewers if you wish.

Then, simply place the skewers under the grill or on the BBQ. If over a naked flame these will probably cook quicker and watch out for them burning. But at the same time, don’t be frightened of some charring as that’s actually what you want to aim for. Under the grill these will probably take about 20 minutes or so, depending on how how the grill is and how high in the grill these are. But chicken should always be cooked in the midde and when chicken starts to spit fats away from the meat, it’s often a sign it’s cooking out. Plus, the row of meat should start to look like it’s almost forming into one.

The good thing about skewered meat is that you can just take off the end piece of meat to test to see if it’s cooked but bare in mind the meat in the middle of the skewer may be more or less cooked than this, so use some common sense when deciding whether or not to serve.

Potatoes wise – if cooking from scratch rather than parboiling first, you’ll need at least 30 minutes in the pan. Again, sample the occasional chunk or 6 to see if they are soft enough for serving. Be warned, the potatoes can burn on the sides if left unattended for too long, or if the oil and butter dries out.

To make up the Alioli (garlic mayonnaise), which works as a nice ‘dip’, break two egg yolks into a non metallic bowl or plastic beaker. Add a little olive oil and a spoonful of mustard along with a couple of cloves of very finely chopped garlic. Blitz this in pulses with a hand blender or whisk. Keep adding oil drop by drop, whisk again and so on. Eventually, the mayo will thicken and the more oil you add the thicker this should become. Leave to chill, once made, in the fridge for a little while before serving.

To serve, place potatoes on plates, or if you want to be really European, eat from the pan, maybe with a little melted cheese over the top, and serve the skewers either complete, or pull the meat off and serve as a separate dish/bowl. If you see some meat could benefit from a little more cooking at this point, pour all the chunks quickly into a pan with a tiny drop of oil and fry off. Never take chances with chicken.

This is a really a freestyle dish. I could cook this dish 20 times and every time I could make it a little different. Experiment with the herbs and flavourings…add more chilli for a bit more bite, and finish the dish with a sprinking of fresh or even dried Parsley.

Finishing the potatoes with melted cheese is an indulgence but big in France, so don’t be ashamed as those guys know what they are doing with their food!

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