MIDDLE-EASTERN GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS
Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Grilling
by Don Mauer
Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes, plus 3 or more hours to marinate
Cook time: 15 to 18 minutes
Serving size: 1 breast
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ Ib. total)
• 1 (8-oz.) carton plain yogurt
• 1 small onion, stem and root ends trimmed, peeled, and finely chopped
• 1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pushed through a garlic press
• 1 tsp. sesame seeds
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric (optional)
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1. Rinse chicken breasts under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, onion, oregano, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, turmeric (if using), and salt. Transfer 1/2 yogurt mixture to a small bowl, and stir in cucumber. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Add chicken breasts to remaining yogurt mixture, stirring and tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Fire up the grill:
For a charcoal grill: Open the bottom vents. Ignite 6 quarts or 2 1/2 pounds charcoal briquettes or hardwood charcoal. When the coals are hot, set up for a one-level medium-heat fire (so you can hold your hand 5 inches above the cooking rack for only 4 to 5 seconds).
For a gas grill: Turn each burner to high and ignite. Cover the grill. When hot, set the burners to medium heat.
4. On a charcoal grill: Arrange hot coals around a drip pan. Place chicken on the grill rack over the drip pan, cover, and grill for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once halfway through, until chicken is no longer pink or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part registers 165°F.
On a gas grill: Place chicken on the grill over heat. Cover and grill as directed for a charcoal grill. Serve, passing cucumber-yogurt mixture.
Note: Sour cream and yogurt certainly seem similar, but their flavors couldn't be less alike. Sour cream, although sour, has an underlying sweetness; yogurt stays tangy. Don't try to substitute them in this recipe.