It’s dishes like this that make you question why you even go out to eat. Seriously.
There was a decent amount of prep up-front on this recipe, but the beauty is that it can be made a day or two ahead of time, and if you have a large party, the quantities can be easily modified. Once you get the initial prep out of the way, the rest is a piece of cake!
I love a “good Tunisian relish montage!”
I will say that even though this recipe called for chicken, I think that the relish would have worked just as well with pork.
I can’t remember the last time I made kebabs, but I know it hasn’t been in the last 5 years. I believe I almost skewered my hand making them that time as well!
I prefer to use metal skewers, as bamboo ones always have a habit on catching fire on the grill. But be careful! Metal skewers have no problem puncturing a hole in your hand!
Whereas there’s a lot of complex flavors going on in this dish, the spice level is fairly dialed-down. That’s a good thing, since the wine shows 14.1% alcohol. Anyone who’s been reading these reviews knows that I’ve not a fan of pairing wines with “big alcohol” with food. Now don’t get me wrong, 14.1.% isn’t huge, but it’s enough to make me think about adjusting the spice level in a dish.
I’ve tasted the Gary Farrell Pinot before, which I remember liking; but this is my first time trying his SB. The pairing itself worked beautifully, but providing more of a contrast of flavors, as opposed to a comparison.
The grapes for the Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc ($25 retail) are sourced from the “Redwood Ranch” vineyard in the Alexander Valley region of Sonoma. The former cattle pasture was converted into a vineyard in 1964. Even though the climate (as a whole) in Sonoma is often considered more moderate than neighboring Napa, the Alexander Valley is actually one of the warmest parts of Northern California. This leads to a very “upfront” style in the Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc.
Showing a medium-full body, the wine manages to stay balanced, even bearing in mind that alcohol level. A small percentage of the juice is fermented in French oak barrels, thus adding another layer of complexity and body. Pear, bell pepper, melon, pineapple and banana. Creamy and rich. Pink grapefruit and minerals on the long finish. Sancerre this is not, but if you want Sancerre you buy Sancerre! It also doesn’t have that “handfuls of fresh-cut grass rammed down your throat” taste you get with some Sauv Blancs. In short, it’s a good alternative to the “New Zealand-esque” style which seems to be dominating retailers/restaurants lately.
All-in-all this was a great pairing, and a recipe that I’ll be saving for future reference.
Recipe for Tunisian Chicken Kebabs with Currant and Olive Relish.
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
- 2 green bell peppers, diced into small pieces.
- 2 cups dried raisins
- 2 cups pitted green olives, chopped
- One 14-ounce jar sweet pickled peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed and sliced into rings.
- 6 fresh sweet pepper, tops cut off, seeds removed and sliced into rings.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 3-4 pieces skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
- 5-6 pieces skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
1. Roast-off the bell peppers directly over a gas flame (or under a broiler), turning, until charred all over. Let cool. Peel, seed and core the peppers. Rough-chop into 1 inch pieces.
2. Soak the raisins in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the raisins to a bowl. Add the roasted peppers, sweet peppers, sweet pickled peppers, their liquid and 1-half cup of olive oil and the Sherry vinegar. Combine well. Separate the mix into two equal halves and puree one half of the mix with a food processor. Lightly season both with the kosher salt and black pepper.
3. Thread the chicken breast and thigh pieces onto the skewers (making sure not to impale your hand!) and transfer to a large plate or baking sheet. Pour half of the pureed mix over the chicken, turning to coat completely. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours (it’s really at your discretion, as I only marinated mine for 1 hour). Refrigerate the remaining half of the marinade in a serving bowl.
4. Light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Brush the grill grates with a little olive oil and grill the chicken skewers over high heat and turning with tongs, until slightly charred and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. The Mrs. recently got salmonella after a trip to Mexico, so I made EXTRA sure mine were cooked through!
Serve the kebabs hot with the reserved marinade in ramekins and topped with the Tunisian Relish.
Note: I wasn’t in the mood to get too adventurous with a side dish, so we just made a simple Caesar salad and added a little bacon.