Chicken Skewers with Cherry Salsa

Pondering what to make myself for lunch, I decided to ask my boyfriend for advice. His suggestion, “Cherried Chicken” having known that I just bought both cherries and chicken. That sounded pretty good I just didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in… then it hit me! In the latest issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, I came across a recipe for Chicken Skewers with Meyer Lemon Salsa that sounded absolutely fabulous! So with my inspiration I decided to hit the kitchen…

Cherry Salsa

I started with about 1 cup of whole cherries which I pitted and quartered. From there I added scallions, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of red chili flakes (I didn’t have any fresh chili’s in my fridge). It tasted delicious! I set the cherry salsa aside and moved onto butchering the chicken quarters!

Normally, with unlimited funds that is, I would have just purchased boneless skinless chicken thighs. BUT being a college student with extremely limited funds I had to make due with the 99¢/lb skin-on, bone-in chicken quarters. I watch a lot of cooking shows, read a lot of food magazines, and I also have a mother with a culinary arts degree so I always have a pretty good idea of how to do something. With that said I understood how to make a boneless skinless chicken thigh from my leg quarters. Putting that knowledge into action, however, was a bit challenging. I managed to cut the drumstick from the thing perfectly (something I’ve done before just not on raw chicken). Removing the skin is the easiest part I always remove it unless I’m roasting a whole bird! When it came to separating the flesh from the bone I hit a wall or should I say a bone 😉 I stood at my counter, staring at the thigh, trying to use my engineering background to determine the best way to optimize my chicken yield. I decided wrong. My chicken did not come off smoothly in one piece and my chicken bones still had a good amount of flesh on them. BUT because I was making skewers I didn’t really want stringy pieces of chicken because they would fall of the bamboo. My second attempt was near perfection. I decided this time to start at the large bone that runs through the thigh and give it a cut lengthwise and cut all the way around the bone. This provided me with the perfect boneless skinless chicken thigh! I then cut all the thighs into 1 inch pieces.

I decided to make a milk based marinate for my chicken skewers for the most flavorful and juicy results! I whirled parsley, garlic, and chives in my food processor and then added a bit of whole grain mustard and some milk. The concoction created was a pale green milk with flecks of bright green parsley and chives. It looked yummy like my favorite, green curry chicken! I put all the chicken in a ziptop baggy added a sprinkle of salt and pepper then poured in the pale green liquid. I sealed off the bag and massaged the thighs.

After about twenty minutes at the spa, the chicken thighs were perfectly tender and ready to hit my griddle! I pierced the chicken pieces onto some bamboo skewers and placed them on my hot griddle over med-high heat. The results were gorgeous golden brown chicken thighs that were crispy on the outside and still juicy and cooked through on the inside! All I had to do was plate my skewers and top with the cherry salsa! Yummy!

Chicken Skewers

I must say the hardest part of writing recipes is the actual writing part! I’m normally a cook by taste and feel kind of girl. So my first attempt at writing a recipe follows!

Chicken Skewers with  Cherry Salsa

servings 4-6

2 tbsp. chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. mustard
1 cp. milk
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts) cut in 1-1 1/2 inch cubes
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
1 serrano or jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp. lemon zest
juice of half a lemon

In a food processor pulse garlic, chives, and 1/4 cp. parsley until garlic is chopped. Add mustard and milk pulse to combine. Place the chicken into a zip-top baggy and pour the marinade on-top. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken. Let sit for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mix last five ingredients with 2 tbsp. parsley. Stir and set aside.

Place the chicken onto bamboo skewers about 4-5 pieces per skewer. Place skewers on a hot cast iron griddle lightly coated with olive oil. Cook over medium medium-high heat until brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside. Top skewers with cherry salsa.

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