This recipe proves that sometimes all you need is to match the right protein to the right herbs, and the result is magical. Here we are using chicken breast and marinating it with a Herbes de Provence based mixture. You will end up with chicken that boats a typically French flavor and goes with any side dish you want to team it with. Meat cooks best on the barbeque when it is in uniform size pieces, else you will end up with the larger pieces still raw in the middle while the smaller ones are done. This applies not only to burgers, chicken breasts and steaks, but also to kabobs, so ensure the pieces are more or less the same size. You will get about 32 cubes out of the 1½ pounds of chicken breast. The chicken is marinated in this recipe and the vinegar helps make it soft and tender, so the cooking time is relatively short.
The star ingredient in this recipe is the Herbes de Provence, something every home cook should keep in the cupboard. So what is Herbes de Provence anyway? Well, this mixture of dried herbs from the Provence region of France gives amazing flavor to chicken, fish and other meals such as vegetable stews, where a light and aromatic flavor is required. Although the term originally referred to any herbs from that area, commercial blends began to appear in the 1970s marketed as ‘Herbes de Provence’, and the key ingredients were rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, and oregano. The ones marketed in the United States had lavender leaves in originally, although lavender was not a cookery herb in the South of France. Herbes de Provence are added to food before or during cooking, or else used in marinades so the flavors can penetrate right into the food. This herb mix is not often added after cooking. Each brand is slightly different so you might want to try a few to see which you prefer, or at least examine the label and see how authentic the mixture really is.
The Special Flavor of These Kabobs
The name of the herb mix is generic, not protected, so there is no guarantee the ingredients in your ‘Herbes de Provence’ come from Provence, or indeed anywhere else in France. They are more likely to have come from China, North Africa, or Eastern or Central Europe. Exactly where your herb mix came from does not matter. What is important is the flavor. Take off the lid, inhale the magical aroma and you will know exactly what we mean. Along with the Herbes de Provence, you will find the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard infuse the chicken with plenty of flavor. Some people like to use poultry seasoning instead of Herbes de Provence, which will also work although give a different flavor. Do not be tempted to throw more ingredients into the marinade to make it more complex. What we have here is well-balanced and simple, so you can enjoy a traditional and typical French flavor.
- 1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cut the chicken into 32 similar sized cubes.
- Whisk the Herbes de Provence with the mustard, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- Toss the chicken with this mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.
- Give it a minimum of 30 minutes in there.
- Preheat the barbeque to medium-hot and lightly oil the grate.
- Take the chicken out of the marinade and discard the marinade.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken then season it with the salt and black pepper.
- Thread 8 pieces on to each of 4 metal skewers.
- You can use bamboo skewers if you want, but soak them for 30 minutes beforehand.
- Arrange the kabobs crosswise across the grate and cook for 3 minutes.
- Flip them over and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the kabobs are fully cooked through.
This makes a change from plain kabobs, and marinating the chicken breast in our French inspired marinade gives it so much flavor. This recipe includes Herbes de Provence along with lemon and Dijon mustard which go beautifully with the natural poultry taste. If you like, you can thread mushrooms on to the skewers along with the chicken, or else make some mushroom kabobs or veggie kabobs using the same marinade. Serve these hot from the barbeque with potato salad or baked potatoes. You could even bake potatoes in the oven then wrap them in foil to finish off on the barbeque. A French side dish like ratatouille or a simple salad would also be great.
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