Sumac is a popular spice in the Middle East, which does not get enough attention in the US. Ground sumac is a deep red powder that comes from the red, ripe berries of the sumac bush (related to poison ivy, but definitely not poisonous). It has a very pleasant tart berry flavor, but without the acidity of a fresh lemon. When combined with honey in this recipe, the sumac-spiced chicken has a great balance of sweet and sour.
- 3 large or 4 medium boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground sumac
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 fresh lemon
- 3 tablespoons honey (orange blossom is a good choice)
- 1 tablespoon water
- Cube chicken into pieces, about 1 to 2 inches square.
- In a stainless mixing bowl, blend together the olive oil, sumac and salt to form a marinade. Strip the leaves from the thyme and add to the marinade. Add the chicken pieces, toss to coat, and let rest in refrigerator for about an hour (stirring occasionally).
- Pre-heat grill to medium high (400 to 425 degrees F).
- Skewer the chicken pieces on either metal or bamboo skewers. Cut lemon in half, and brush each half lightly with olive oil.
- Cook chicken on grill, turning a few times until done (10 minutes or so.) Grill the lemon halves for a few minutes until nice grill marks form.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine the honey and water in a small bowl and stir to blend.
- When done, remove the chicken kabobs from the grill and arrange on a serving platter. Brush each kabob lightly with the honey glaze, making sure to cover all sides. Then squeeze the grilled lemon over the kabobs and serve immediately.
- Serve with red quinoa, brown rice or cous cous.