Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt

I mean, the name alone was enough to draw me into this recipe. When I spotted it in Bon Appetit, I immediately knew I had to make that week. And then I learned the recipe is actually from Chef Ana Sortun of Cambridge’s Oleana. Oleana is one of those restaurants that’s always been on my list of restaurants to check out, but that I never have. So basically, I decided to bring Oleana to Brookline instead. More specifically to my own Brookline kitchen.

And I’m so happy I did! Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure Ana Sortun’s dish is ten times better than mine. But this recipe really did have it all and it really does take me a lot to get excited about chicken (borrrring). But I am now officially excited about chicken. DO NOT be frightened by the 4 different sections of ingredients here. Yes, it seems overwhelming, but most of the steps just say “mix everything together.” I was totally shocked by how ridiculously quickly this came together. If you can mix ingredients and turn on a broiler, you’re good.

I always thought it was my dad who coined the phrase “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” because he said it so much when I was growing up. But it turns out it was Frank Perdue. Huh. Who knew? I’m still giving all credit to my dad. But um, I guess I’d have to go with “It takes a tough woman to make a tender chicken.” And with a little assistance from Ana Sortun, I’m feeling pretty tough right now.

I’ll break it down by section. Start with the Baharat seasoning. But you should be warned that the chicken needs to marinate for 1-2 hours before it can be cooked, so you might want to get on that early on in the game. But first you do have to make the seasoning.

Baharat Seasoning (makes about 1/4 C):
Adapted from Bon Appetit
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• 1 1/2 T mint
• 1 T dried oregano
• 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 t ground coriander
• 1 1/2 t ground cumin
• 1 1/2 t ground nutmeg

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All you need to do is mash all the spices together in a small bowl. The original recipe said to use dried mint, but I used fresh and all was fine. See? That was EASY. You can make this a week ahead of time as long as you cover and chill.

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Now, for the first of the dish’s accompaniments.

Pomegranate Relish:
Adapted from Bon Appetit
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• 1 1/4 C pomegranate seeds
• 2/3 C unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
• 1/3 C fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
• 2 1/2 T olive oil
• 2 1/2 t fresh lemon juice

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Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. You can make this up to 2 hours in advance if you want… Serve it at room temperature! Again, EASY!

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Next!

Tahini Yogurt:
Adapted from Bon Appetit
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• 3 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 T Baharat seasoning(see recipe)
• 1 large garlic clove, pressed
• 1/2 C plain whole milk Greek yogurt
• 1/4 C tahini

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Combine lemon juice, Baharat seasoning, and garlic in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let stand for about 5 minutes and then whisk in yogurt and tahini. Season with salt to taste. If you want, you can make this 2 hours ahead of time… Serve it at room temperature! Yup, EASY :)

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Now for the bulk of the meal. But I swear, it’s still ridiculously easy.

Chicken Kebabs (Serves 4):
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Print this recipe!

• 1/2 C coarsely grated onion
• 2 T fresh lemon juice
• 2 T olive oil
• 2 t Baharat seasoning (see recipe)
• 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3 pieces
• Warm pita bread

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Whisk the onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and Baharat seasoning in a bowl. Add the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and marinate for 1-2 hours. The recipe said to marinate at room temperature, but I’m majorly sketched out by leaving chicken at room temp. for 1-2 hours, so I stuck it back in the fridge. Am I crazy? Letting raw chicken sit on the counter for 2 hours does not seem OK to me.

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Pre-heat your broiler. Put 6 pieces of chicken on each skewer, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Broil the chicken until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side.

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Serve chicken kabobs over a warm pita topped with pomegranate relish and tahini yogurt.

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Maybe you don’t believe me when I say this was the easiest thing to make, ever; but really. The hardest part was um, probably finding pomegranates in my local stores. In case you’re wondering Trader Joe’s always has the pom seeds… And it’s kinda super convenient not to have to open the pom yourself!

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Not only was this chicken incredibly tender (told ya, tough woman!), it was perfectly spiced. I loved how the tanginess of the yogurt and the sweetness of the pomegranate relish balanced the spice of the chicken.

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I need to give a huge shoutout to Oleana’s Ana Sortun for creating an incredibly impressive recipe that’s also so simple I could easily make it on a busy weeknight. Whoo hoo!

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Have you ever cooked a dish from a restaurant that wowed you? Of course, I’ve never had Oleana’s Turkish-spiced chicken kebabs with pomegranate relish and tahini yogurt, but now I almost kinda feel like I’ve been to the restaurant. Though my craving to eat at Oleana is even bigger now!

Hope you’re having a great week! I asked a few of my girlfriends to be in my wedding over dinner tonight. And they said yes! Yay! :) This thing is actually happening and I couldn’t be more excited. So much to plan!! Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Katie!! :)

[Sues]

32 Comments

  • Michelle said:

    This dish looks BEAUTIFUL! Congrats on asking the bridesmaids…it is such a fun thing to do!

    May 4, 2011 7:12 am
  • Elizabeth said:

    Those look insanely delicious. That pomegranate relish is gorgeous. Ana Sortun is absolutely fantastic. I just went to Oleana over the weekend and I’m going again in a couple weeks. Without a doubt one of my favorite restaurants in the area.

    May 4, 2011 9:14 am
  • Molly said:

    What a gorgeous looking meal! I like how each component of the dish would be fantastic on its own. Definitely bookmarking this one!

    May 4, 2011 9:25 am
  • Shannon said:

    What an absolutely beautiful dish!!! Seems well worth the steps to bring it all together!

    May 4, 2011 9:41 am
  • This looks fantastic! Oleana is definitely worth the trip, so I can only imagine actually having the recipes to make some of the dishes at home!

    May 4, 2011 10:18 am
  • Gorgeous! Pomegranate arils are such a beautiful component to a dish, and these kebabs look delicious.

    May 4, 2011 10:25 am
  • Katie said:

    thank you sues!! can’t wait for all the fun stuff coming up! oh, and the meal looks delicious! :)

    May 4, 2011 10:34 am
  • NicoleD said:

    It’s so fun to make something of restaurant quality in your own kitchen. This is definitely the kind of dish I would order and how satisfying that you could make it so successfully!

    May 4, 2011 10:43 am
  • Monique said:

    STUNNING!
    I have a HUGE jar of tahini in my kitchen and i need to do something with it ASAP

    May 4, 2011 10:59 am
  • Lady, you have outdone yourself for this one. Just gorgeous and the flavors at work totally come through in the photos (I’m a little jealous of how good you can get them to come out without natural daylight). Oleana is one of my cousin’s favorite places so while I haven’t been since her childless days in Cambridge, I remember the meal vividly 6 years later. Keep it on your list- maybe we take a field trip the next time I’m in town!

    May 4, 2011 11:07 am
  • Kelly said:

    I love when you find recipes from chefs you already love. This sounds gorgeous and like the perfect compliation of flavors. I’m curious though where you got the pomegranate seeds. Trader Joe’s? I always assumed they couldn’t be found this time of year, so now I am curious.

    And that olive oil…so my favorite. I used to get it in the North End at this cute little shop, but now that I’m in Chicago I haven’t seen it. This is a good reminder that I need to seek it out because it’s delicious, so flavorful and fruity.

    May 4, 2011 11:13 am
  • OMG! First, Oleana is one of my faves and this dish is pretty enough to be served on their gorgeous patio! Second, I just love the idea of the pomegranate relish. Great meal!

    May 4, 2011 11:30 am
  • Oh wow, that looks REALLY really good. I always forget about my broiler… Definitely going to have to make some broiler kebabs soon. Awesome idea! :)

    May 4, 2011 12:14 pm
  • Manda said:

    Oh man, I’m SO hungry now. I will totally try this very very soon.

    May 4, 2011 12:20 pm
  • i have yet to actually recreate a meal from a restaurant, though i have many many recipes stashed to try

    May 4, 2011 12:36 pm
  • I’ve eaten at Oleana and Sofra and both are lovely. I even have Ana’s cookbook and it’s wonderful if you are interested in making more of her recipes. This looks extraordinary! Will definitely keep it in mind the next time I’m plagued with boring chicken :)

    May 4, 2011 1:20 pm
  • one thing i’ve learned from you guys is that i don’t make enough sauces. food has been getting kind of boring lately, but this is very inspiring!

    May 4, 2011 2:56 pm
  • Amy said:

    Your recipes and their pictures always inspire me! Making greek kabobs with a yogurt marinade for dinner! Thanks we are not martha.

    May 4, 2011 3:28 pm
  • Ooh, love the pom relish idea! Perfect summer picnic food!

    May 4, 2011 4:23 pm
  • Juliana said:

    Wow, your chicken kebobs look delicious, specially with the tahini sauce and the pomegranate relish…great combination of flavors…Hope you are having a great week :-)

    May 4, 2011 4:27 pm
  • Sues said:

    @Kelly- Yes, I got the pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe’s… I know I should have wait to make/post this recipe when pomegranates are more in season, but I couldn’t help myself! And they sell the olive oil at Whole Foods! At least around here they do :)

    May 4, 2011 5:28 pm
  • Maris said:

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I bet it is even better then at Oleana!

    May 4, 2011 8:48 pm
  • Pomegranate + tahini yogurt + kabobs = Love!

    May 4, 2011 9:25 pm
  • Bee said:

    Bookmarked this to try. I love simple, fairly inexpensive, and wildly tasty exotic food like this too! Great job!

    May 4, 2011 10:05 pm
  • Shannon said:

    so intriguing!! loving this combination of flavors :)

    May 5, 2011 4:01 am
  • Beautiful meal – and such a creative mix of ingredients!

    May 5, 2011 7:13 am
  • Joanne said:

    I have been ogling this since it came out in the BA issue! Yours looks absolutely gorgeous! Alright. Need to make it.

    May 5, 2011 11:05 am
  • Bridget said:

    This looks sooooooooooo good! Way better than my greek wraps I just made haha! I love tahini so I think I would love this! I’ve also been dying to go to Oleana for ages!!

    May 5, 2011 11:52 am
  • briarrose said:

    Yummy. I love the relish….so colorful.

    May 6, 2011 7:32 pm
  • Eileen said:

    Wow we made this too! http://starvingkitten.com/2011/03/01/turkish-chicken-thighs-with-tahini-yogurt/

    We used chicken thighs instead of making kebobs and didn’t make the pomegranate salsa and it was still AWESOME! I love this recipe and what a great idea to put it all on a pita. Yum!

    May 9, 2011 9:33 pm
  • Dione Zuk said:

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

    May 21, 2011 7:38 am
  • Jess said:

    Made this dish last night and it was absolutely fantastic! We actually had on hand some Baharat seasoning from Sofra which was awesome and made things a little easier. I could eat that tahini yogurt sauce with a spoon every freaking day.

    March 7, 2014 3:18 pm

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