Joojeh Kabab ba Holu
Saffron Chicken Kababs With Peaches
- 3/4 teaspoons saffron threads
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 1 large lemon, zested, plus ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pint/12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound ripe but firm yellow peaches (about 3 large), cut into ¾-inch wedges
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for basting
- Lavash bread, for serving (optional)
- Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
- Sumac, for serving
- Using a mortar and pestle (or small bowl and the handle end of
a wooden spoon), grind the saffron with the sugar to a fine powder
(about ¼ teaspoon). Transfer to a large bowl.
- Bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a saucepan, kettle or
using the microwave, then let stand for 2 minutes to allow the water
temperature to drop slightly. Add to the ground saffron powder,
gently stir, cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- To the saffron water, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive
oil, garlic, salt and pepper; carefully stir to mix. Add the chicken
and onion to the marinade and combine until well coated. Cover and
marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, turning the chicken
pieces around in the marinade every once in a while.
- Prepare a charcoal grill until the coals are ashed over and still
hot, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Skewer the tomatoes and
peaches separately and set aside. Remove the chicken pieces from
the marinade and skewer them. It’s best to use flat, ½-inch-wide
skewers or double skewers so the chicken pieces stay put when turned.
- Transfer the onion and any remaining marinade to a medium skillet
and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring
occasionally, until the onion has softened and the skillet is nearly
dry, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grill the chicken, basting with the butter and turning
every 2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12
minutes on a charcoal grill and 15 to 18 minutes on a gas grill.
- Grill the tomatoes and peaches alongside the chicken: Grill the
tomatoes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and slightly
blistered, 6 to 8 minutes on charcoal and about 10 minutes on a gas
grill. Grill the peaches, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until
softened but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
- If using lavash bread, drape on a serving platter. Place the
chicken, tomatoes and peaches on the bread. (As the kababs sit, the
bread soaks up the wonderful juices and becomes a highly sought-after
bite.) Serve with the cooked onions, lime wedges for squeezing and
sumac for sprinkling.