Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chicken Spiedies

Packer snacks are a proud tradition in my household. Ever since I was a tiny girl, Sunday afternoons from September to January were dedicated to football with Dad. This afternoon was always accompanied by a special snack, the first bite of which must be taken exactly as the kicker's foot makes contact with the ball at kickoff (my rule, not his). I've continued this tradition as an adult and this year choosing signature foods from the opposing team's city/region to pair with each game. I love how this theme has allowed me to cook up some familiar specialties, but the Giants opponent brought me to the first completely new regional food I came across in my football cookery.

It's strange that marinated and grilled chunks of meat on bread isn't a recipe that has myriad regional versions, but it seems that the Southern Tier of New York (more specifically, the greater Binghamton area) is the only place to fervently embrace it. Chicken is the most common protein, and though many marinade recipes exist, I chose to make my own of the fairly classic olive oil + lemon + herb variety. Unsurprisingly, grilled meat on bread is delicious! The marinade keeps the chicken moist and deeply infuses it with flavor, so little more is required than a starchy canvas to serve it on, but the creamy sauce is the perfect finishing touch.

Chicken Spiedies
adapted from Cook's Country
serves 6

1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed)
6 (6-inch) French, Italian, or sub rolls

1. Mix the oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper and pepper flakes in a large bowl. Place 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture in another bowl and set aside.

2. Prick the chicken breasts with a fork all over on each side. Cut into 1 1/4 inch chunks and add to the marinade. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes and no longer than 3 hours.

3. Whisk together mayo, vinegar and lemon juice with the 2 tablespoons of reserved oil mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Prepare grill over high heat. Remove the chicken from marinade and thread onto metal skewers. Place the skewers on the grill, turning frequently. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from grill and allow chicken to rest for a few minutes

5. Place chicken on rolls and drizzle with mayonnaise mixture. Serve promptly.

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