Tunisian Chicken Kebabs with Currants and Olives

Every now and then I have the strange experience of looking at the possessions I own, unable to recall why I ever wanted them in the first place; usually this experience transpires after I spend time with people for whom I would trade everything in, no questions asked. Everything for a few more seconds of time in their company. My dad visited this last weekend, and when he left I felt like an impostor in my own house. Is this my life, my stuff? Something’s missing….

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And of course, we grilled. And grilled. These Tunisian kebabs were, by far, his favorite. Ehem, Mom.

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Tunisian Chicken Kebabs with Currants and Olives

Adapted from Food and Wine

2 medium red bell peppers

1 cup dried currants

One 14-ounce jar sweet Peppadew or other sweet pickled red peppers, 1/2 cup of the juices from the jar reserved

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling

Kosher salt

3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips

3 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, lightly pounded and cut into 1-inch-wide, lengthwise strips

Tunisian Relish

Roast the bell peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, seed and core the peppers.

Meanwhile, soak the currants in 1/2 cup of hot water until plump, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the currants to a blender. Add the roasted peppers, Peppadews and their liquid and the 1 cup of olive oil and puree. Season the marinade lightly with salt.

Thread the chicken breast and thigh strips separately onto 30 to 40 bamboo skewers and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, turning to coat completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Refrigerate the remaining half of the marinade in a serving bowl.

Light a grill. Or make a ghetto grill out of a chiminea stand that your bulldog broke, affix to that a grill from a mini Weber with tin wire. Looks silly but works great with a campfire if you have one in your backyard, like us. (Also, if you have chickens, be sure to blindfold them before roasting chicken in front of them.) Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Season the chicken with salt. Oil the grill grates and grill the chicken skewers over high heat, in batches if necessary and turning with tongs, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 8 minutes for the breasts and 10 minutes for the thighs. Serve the kebabs hot or at room temperature with the reserved marinade and the Tunisian Relish.

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Tunisian Relish (this is key… KP’s fave)

1 cup dried currants

2 cups pitted green olives, chopped

1 cup sweet Peppadew peppers, chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or old cooking wine

Kosher salt

In a bowl, soak the currants in hot water until plump, about 5 minutes. Drain, pressing out the excess water. Return the currants to the bowl and add the olives, Peppadews, olive oil and vinegar. Season the relish with salt.

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