Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs

After 6 straight days of damp rainy weather, I was so ready for the sun to come out this weekend, and though I had to wait until Sunday for it to happen, it was one of the best weekends we’ve had in a while. I did the grocery shopping first thing Saturday morning as usual, and then we ran to the theater to catch a 10:30 am showing of The Avengers. I’ve never seen such a packed theater for an early morning movie in my life. It was really good, definitely worth seeing if you’re at all into super hero movies (my favorites are still the Batman movies).

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Shane ran his marathon yesterday morning, finishing even faster than he expected which is always a nice bonus. He’s really hopeful about qualifying to Boston when he runs his next marathon this fall, fingers crossed! Afterward we had lunch with his parents at our favorite post-race spot, Harry’s. They serve the best aoili with their sweet potato fries – I asked the waitress what was in it yesterday and am determined to recreate it at home soon :) We capped off the weekend with our inaugural trip to our town’s local ice cream spot, and I sampled their newest flavor, red velvet. It’ll definitely be competing with mint chocolate chip for my favorite this summer.

Best of all, Shane took today off so we’re heading into day 3 of this weekend. I have no idea what we’re doing yet, but the sun is shining so it’s already off to a good start!

Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs

We got our weekend started with these chicken kebabs, dodging rain drops to grill them Friday night. I’ve been obsessed with kebabs lately, if you haven’t noticed. This variation is glazed with a really simple, but flavorful orange teriyaki sauce that caramelizes beautifully on the grill. I was surprised the orange flavor came through as much as it did, it gave the sauce freshness I wasn’t expecting. The kebabs are served with additional sauce on the side for dipping, practically a prerequisite in my book. Food on a stick is just plain fun; I foresee a ton of kebabs in our future this summer :)

We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make the kebabs, but next time I’ll use chicken thighs and I’ve reflected that in the recipe below. Thighs are more forgiving on the grill so you don’t have to worry that overcooking them for even a minute will result in dry, tough meat. Though if that should happen (ahem) the dipping sauce will come to your rescue.

Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs
adapted from Barbara Bakes (originally adapted from On A Stick)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

To make the sauce: Set a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the ginger, orange zest and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. (Watch carefully, you don’t want to let the garlic burn, or it’ll be bitter.) Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, orange marmalade, orange juice, honey and red pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Set aside half of the sauce to serve with the cooked chicken, the other half is for brushing the kebabs.

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 2-3 minutes, until they are slightly charred on all sides. Brush one side of the kebabs liberally with the sauce then flip and cook until the sauce caramelizes, about 1 minute. Brush the other side with the sauce, flip and cook until caramelized, about 1 more minute. The total cooking time should be about 12-15 minutes, you can use an instant thermometer to verify that the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the kebabs to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with the reserved sauce.