Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kebabs with Sweet and Sour Orange Dipping Sauce

I’m pretty sure when the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was written they were talking about the holiday season, but for me, the most wonderful time of the year is right now. Playoff hockey. Yes, I’m completely obsessed. Since the playoffs started last week, it’s been all hockey, all the time in our house. There was over 12 hours of coverage on Sunday, and when it was over, I still hadn’t had my fill. Sure, there’s some extra excitement since my team is in the playoff race, but even if they weren’t, I’d still be tuning in to every game. The intensity, the pace, the rivalries – it’s must see tv for sure. Don’t worry, it’s not going to turn into hockey central over here for the next 2 months, I’m just so darn excited, I couldn’t help myself today :)

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kebabs with Sweet and Sour Orange Dipping Sauce

Hockey doesn’t really have anything to do with this chicken, aside from the fact that these kebabs are a quick and easy meal I can get on the table on weeknights so I won’t miss a second of my favorite game. The chicken is coated with a fragrant (thanks to the rosemary) spice rub that’s a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy then threaded onto kebabs and thrown on the grill. They only need about 15 minutes to cook through and develop a little char on the outsides. The dipping sauce is super simple with just three ingredients and totally worth making – its sweetness is the perfect complement to the spice in the chicken. I couldn’t get Shane to try the sauce after he saw the jar of orange marmalade I was using to make it, and I had a ton of leftovers so I’ll probably halve the sauce next time. Shane raved about the kebabs even without the sauce – they’re a definite repeat here. I just love the easy clean-up that comes along with grilling too. If only we could grill year-round, I’d be washing a lot less dishes around here!

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kebabs with Sweet and Sour Orange Dipping Sauce
barely adapted from Fine Cooking

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and drizzle the oil over it, tossing to coat. Top the chicken with the spice mixture and toss until the chicken is evenly coated.

To make the dipping sauce: Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, the marmalade and the rice vinegar in a small saucepan. Set over low heat and stir just until the mixture is heated through. Cover and remove from the heat.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (400-450 F). Oil the grates lightly (I use the tongs to hold a paper towel that’s been dipped in oil and rub it over the grates). While the grill is heating, thread the chicken cubes onto skewers (we used metal ones, but if you’re going with wood skewers, you might want to soak them in cold water beforehand).

Place the kebabs on the grill and cook, giving them a quarter turn every 3 minutes or so, until they are slightly charred on all sides and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes total. Transfer the kebabs to a platter and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with the warm dipping sauce.