Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chicken Skewers with Tarragon-Pistachio Pesto

Fall has arrived. The days grow shorter and the evenings become chillier. What more reason do you need to uncover the grill for one last hurrah as summer slips away? This is a great recipe to prep ahead of time and cook with friends, huddled over the warm grill, beer in hand. We have the friends and beer part down. Now we just need to work on the grill part. In a pinch, a broiler works just as well.

adapted from "Weeknight Cooking" Bon Appetit, April 2011

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1/2 to 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
2-3 Tbsp unsalted pistachios, shelled and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oilskewers
8 large chicken tenders (about 1 to 1 1/3 lbs)
1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch wedges
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
8 lemon slices, halved
salt and pepper to taste
The Process:
for the pesto
In a blender or food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients and finely chop. Slowly add the olive oil and blend until a coarse paste. Mix in 2 Tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

for the skewers:
Heat a grill or broiler. On metal or bamboo skewers (soak the bamboo in water at least 10 minutes prior to using to prevent burning), thread 1 piece of onion, 1 piece of pepper, 1 slice of lemon, 1 chicken tender (lengthwise), followed by an addition piece of onion, pepper and lemon. Brush with olive oil and tarragon-pistachio pesto. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through and vegetables lightly charred, about 6-8 minutes per side. Serve with remaining pesto.

The Review:
We had a guinea pig, errr, guest for dinner this evening so this incredibly fast and simple, yet elegant looking dinner fit the bill. The flavors of the pesto are fresh and provide a nice change of pace from the traditional basil/parsley concoction. The combination of tarragon and pistachio was a bigger success thanmy hazelnut pesto a few months back. I'll be stashing this recipe to toss with pasta or spread on crostini in the future.

The chicken was tasty, tender and fairly neutral foil to the charred veggies and pesto. Overall the entire meal was light, fresh and filling. And offered a perfect reason to heat up the coals on a chilly September evening.

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