February 12, 2014

Spicy Honey Lime Chicken Skewers

There are few things that will impress your Valentine's Day date more than a delicious home-cooked meal. You've probably got dessert covered (if not, you can try any of these recipes), but what should you make for the main course? Definitely something flavorful. It's got to be creative, but it can't be too crazy. It also has to look presentable. After all, you eat with your eyes first. Luckily for you, I have the perfect idea--spicy honey lime chicken skewers. You probably have most of the ingredients already, and it is incredibly easy to make.

All you have to do to impress your date is cut up some chicken, stick it in a marinade overnight, and grill it up the next day. There's even a three-ingredient sauce that you literally just stir together. The marinade focuses on three main flavors: sweet, spicy, and sour. There's a bit of saltiness as well from the soy sauce, but the components all work in harmony to make a delicious dish.

I like lime as my citrus for the sour component, but oranges would be amazing, too. I find that I need about two limes to get enough juice and zest for the recipe, but I recommend buying one or two extras to use when plating. Honey gives a hint of sweetness, which cools off the spiciness, and it makes the chicken caramelize beautifully on the grill. The skewers will get pretty dark, but make sure you don't burn them. As for the spiciness, I find that the Sriracha is irreplaceable. If it's not enough heat for you, feel free to throw in some pieces of habeñero or jalapeño when you blend the marinade together.

I thread the chicken onto skewers for a more impressive presentation, but cooking skewers can be a bit tricky. If you use wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for a few hours before grilling. It reduces the likelihood of them catching on fire or burning. Metal skewers will work just as well, but they retain heat longer, so be careful not to burn yourself when eating. I choose to cut up an onion to keep the chicken pieces from sticking together and help them cook better, but you can substitute your favorite vegetable or forgo one entirely.

If you want to bypass the trouble of cooking skewers, you can always use the marinade on whatever cut of chicken you want and either sear it or roast it. You can even heat up a wok and cook small pieces of chicken that way, too.

I whip up a quick and easy sauce to serve with the chicken for a little extra flavor, but it consists of the three main flavors in the marinade to complement the chicken rather than distract from it. It really doesn't get easier than whisking honey, lime juice, and sriracha together. I personally prefer a sriracha to honey ratio of two to one with a splash of lime juice, but you can taste it and adjust the proportions to fit your taste. Although this is such a simple recipe, it is bound to impress your date!

3 T Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup + 1 T Honey
1 T Oil
1 tsp Lime Zest
3 1/2 T Lime Juice
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 T Minced Ginger
2 1/2 T Sriracha
1 1/2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs
1 Yellow Onion

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse the soy sauce, 1/3 cup honey, oil, lime zest, 3 T lime juice, garlic, ginger, and 2 T Sriracha until smooth.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and toss with the marinade. Let sit overnight.

Cut the onion into large pieces. Alternate pieces of onion and pieces of chicken on wooden skewers.

Combine the remaining honey, lime juice, and Sriracha.

Grill the chicken skewers until deep brown and cooked through. Serve with sauce.

Serves 4
Recipe Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

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