Summer has officially arrived in Austin. With weather averaging in the mid 90s, you must be a crazy person to want to make things even hotter by cooking via grilling outside. But that’s exactly what I have decided to do now that I’m in my 6th month with my new-ish Weber charcoal grill. I’ve determined to master the art of grilling with charcoal, and that’s why I’ve been practicing with a variety of dishes.

Not that it was hard to convince me to make Susan Feniger’s grilled chicken kebab recipe from the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine. The chicken is marinated in a roasted red pepper and currants sauce, and then grilled and served with a peppadew pepper and green olive sauce.

To make the marinade, red bell pepper is roasted over a direct flame, either on a gas grill, gas stove top, or broiler, until charred all over. The roasted pepper is transferred to a plastic bag closed tightly and set aside until cool. The pepper is cooled completely then peeled and seeded.

Dried currents are soaked in hot tap water until re-hydrated, they are drained and transferred to a food processor with the sliced roasted bell pepper, pickled peppadew peppers, and olive oil. The mixture is processed into a thick paste, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

I used both chicken breast and thighs for this recipe, make sure that you skewer the breast meat and thigh meat separately, since thigh meat takes a couple minutes longer to cook than breast meats. The meat are cut into 1 inch pieces, thoroughly coated with the marinade, then transferred to a resealable plastic bag and chilled in the fridge for 4 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, I made the peppadew pepper, currant, and green olive sauce, which takes less than 5 minutes to make. Peppadew, re-hydrated currant, pitted green olives, sherry vinegar, and olive oil are processed together and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The sauce can be made a few hours ahead of time and chilled in the fridge. I also used the left over sauce as a tapanade like spread for bread.

About 30 minutes before eating, I started a fire and readied my charcoal grill for direct grilling. While the charcoal is heating up, I skewered the chicken on some brand new metal skewers I got. Once the charcoals have ashed over, the chicken skewers are grilled over hot coals, about 4 minutes on the first side.

The skewers are turned over after 4 minutes, and cooked for 4 minutes more for breasts, 6 minutes more for thigh meat.

The chicken skewers are transferred to a plate and drizzled with the olive peppadew sauce, and can be served immediately.

I made a carrot salad with harrisa dressing and a farro and tomato salad with arugula pesto to go with the chicken kebabs and they all complimented each other wonderfully.

Tunisian Chicken Kebabs with Currants and Olives

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