A week ago, I had to rush to the supermarket to buy some whipped cream for a panna cotta dessert to serve for brunch. On my way to the dairy aisle, I was stopped by a food demonstrator. “Ma’am, would you like to try some shish taouk?” He handed me a generous slice that matched his generous smile.
My taste buds woke up with a jolt. “Do you have a recipe?” I asked. He pointed to the shelf behind him where packaged trays of marinated chicken were lined up. “Here they are,” he said.
“You mean, that’s it – just put them on the grill?” He grinned sheepishly. “I actually put dollops of this.” He showed me a Classico sauce bottle called Alfredo and Roasted Garlic. “Anyway, it’s my own version,” he said with a hint of embarrassment.
I loved it.
Supermarkets in large cities like Montreal now sell chicken parts (mostly breasts, thighs and legs) marinated in shish taouk sauce which people throw into their barbecue grill.
Shish taouk is actually Turkish in origin, according to Wikipedia, which means “skewers”, but is also popular in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. I have a weakness for Middle Eastern food, which is why I like to shop often in stores that sell Arabic cuisine. They seem to have the best nuts as well.
We’re lucky to have Adonis in Montreal. Adonis is a large supermarket chain that specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine. They have the best shish taouk chicken I’ve ever tasted. They sell them fresh or already grilled. They throw in two large-size pitas and two extra cups of garlic sauce when you buy them already grilled. They’re opening a branch nearer my place so I’m looking forward to opening day. In the branch I used to shop, parking was atrocious (Montrealers come in droves, at all times of the day). They have specialty ice cream, the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable, and a nut counter that you can’t resist. Their cold cuts and pastry counters carry an impressive array of goodies that you won’t find anywhere else. If you should ever visit Montreal, make it a point to drop by Adonis; that is, if you’re a full-fledged foodie.
If you like Shish taouk like I do, here’s a quick way to make it:
1 packaged tray of Shish Taouk chicken (if your supermarket does not sell them, you can buy your favorite chicken part and marinate them overnight with garlic paste)
1 bottle Classico sauce, Alfredo and Roasted Garlic (your local supermarket will have its own product line of sauces, I don’t know if they carry Classico, but I’m 99.99% sure they’ll have a brand that has a similar Alfredo and Roasted Garlic flavor)
1/2 cup green onions, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- Pre-heat your grill for five minutes, after spraying.
- Put your chicken and grill for 5 minutes on each side. If your parts are thick, you may want to increase grilling time by another 5 minutes. The idea is to cook the chicken so it is no longer pink, but don’t overcook it.
- Pre-heat your oven 350 degrees. When the chicken parts are grilled, put them in a rectangular dish and pour the sauce generously over them. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
(The words below the picture say “short cut shish taouk before going into the oven.” I had started to pour the sauce but realized I did not take a picture, so you’ll notice that the sauce is covering only a few pieces of chicken. You’ll need to pour the sauce over all the chicken)
- When you take out your chicken from the oven, sprinkle your diced green onions and red peppers on top. Serve over a plate of wild or white rice. A green salad like “tabouleh” would complement this dish beautifully.
Again, the words below simply say, “short cut shish taouk before serving.”
Tip: if your chicken breasts are too thick, you may want to slice them into two just to make sure that they get cooked well. Also, I noticed that the sauce tends to be on the thick side. You could add a tablespoon or two of skimmed milk to make it less thick. You can throw in your own garnish like sesame seeds or parsley.
This one’s definitely a keeper. When friends say they’re dropping by, this dish is something you can prepare in about 45 minutes. Plus you can’t beat four ingredients!