Grilled Chicken Skewers & Tabbouli

I’ve had a container of bulgur wheat hanging out in my cupboard for a while now. The stuff is really good – you can cook it up in broth with some veggies just like lentils, or cook it in milk like oatmeal. For some reason, though, I’ve been neglecting it. And, now that I’ll be skipping town for a while, I’m trying to eat my way through as much of the contents of my cupboard as possible.

After a quick search for things to do with bulgur, I noticed the overwhelming result was tabbouli (tabouli, tabbouleh, tabouleh… whichever). As it turns out, I have some huge parsley plants coming up in the garden and I had a tomato in my produce box – all I had to pick up was a lemon, a cucumber and some chicken. Perfect.

This recipe is derived from quite a few (three for the tabbouli and two for the chicken). For the tabbouli I landed on this one, this one, and this one. I liked the use of cucumber in some, the absence of red onion in others, and the different spices used in the first one. I used less lemon juice than some, more bulgur than others, left out mint, and didn’t let it sit as long as I was supposed to – it was delicious.

I also went looking for middle-eastern chicken skewer recipes to go with the tabbouli (turns out the real name for that is shish taouk) and ended up with this one and this one. I liked the use of yogurt in the second one, and since I had yogurt sitting around, I mostly followed that, but simplified/left out a few things. Again – it was delicious. If you can, whip up the marinade the day before and let the chicken soak up the yogurty goodness overnight.

Ingredients (makes 3 servings):

Tabbouli:

  • 1 c bulgur wheat
  • 1 large tomato, cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded & sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • a few Tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • about 1 c chopped fresh parsley

Chicken:

  • 6 chicken breast tenders
  • a few big spoonfulls nonfat Greek yogurt
  • a clove or two of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. The night before, mix all the chicken ingredients together in a container, cover the chicken in the marinade & put in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
  2. In a saucepan, heat 3 c water just to a boil. Take off the heat, add the bulgur, and let sit for at least 10 minutes while you get other things ready.
  3. Heat the grill up to medium-high. Put the chicken on metal skewers length-wise (if you’re using wood skewers, you need to soak them for a while first). Cook, turning once, for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is browned & cooked through.
  4. When the bulgur is done cooking, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Or, if you’re brave, use the back of a big spoon. Press it gently with a big spoon to get excess water out.
  5. Add the bulgur to a mixing bowl with all the rest of the tabbouli ingredients. Stir. Serve with the chicken skewers. Enjoy!

(If you can plan ahead, all of the tabbouli recipes I looked at said to let it sit in the fridge for an hour or more before eating to help all the flavors meld. If you’re impatient like me, it’s still delicious freshly-mixed)

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