This time last year, I was planning a trip to Hawaii.
This year, I’m planning a trip home to take an intensive week long course in conducting chamber music. Ugh. I’m excited about heading home and doing this class with one of my favorite teachers, but home is not a beach and my teacher isn’t a tan and svelte 29 year old surfer named Tony who makes the best margaritas.
He is however a 50-something hilarious Hungarian man with zero filter, and a penchant for beer, trumpets, and calling it like he sees it. So that’s almost as good, right? Plus it will be July, which is one month in New England where the weather seems to cooperate. I’m sure I’ll enjoy leaving the 63-degree San Francisco temperatures for some actual summer heat and humidity.
Right now I can’t really complain, as it’s been in the low 70’s with clear blue skies for the last week here. Nothing could be more welcome after the week of relentless heavy rains we had. Add daylight savings to the mix, and I’m ready for spring, summer and sunshine.
Back east, daylight savings felt more gradual, like it took a few weeks to kick in. Not here. Bright sun until 7:15 PM; the longer days call for quick, easy recipes, preferably done on the grill.
Forget that Crockpot Stout Beef Stew I was going to share with you all for St. Patty’s Day but was instead shared with the garbage.
I’m determined to become a grill master this year. It’s one method of cooking I haven’t practiced much, thanks to many summers of dealing with guys claiming, “I got this. You go make the pasta salad.” Well I’m here with Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Skewers and I’m ready to join the boy’s club. As soon as I can figure out how to attach the damn gas to my apartment complex’s grill.
While I don’t recall eating chicken even once while in Hawaii last June (I consumed mostly coconut shrimp and chocolate covered macadamia nuts the whole week), these have pineapple as a main ingredient so Hawaiian I will call them. Chicken breast gets tossed in a simple sweet marinade of pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and garlic, which later you’ll reduce on the stove top to create a thick glaze. After a couple hours in the fridge, just stick the pieces onto skewers with fresh pineapple and colorful bell peppers, then grill. That’s it! Ten minutes prep, ten minutes cook time. Grilling brings out the natural sugars of the fruit and peppers, giving the skewers a perfect char. The glaze is easily made while the grill preheats, then gets brushed over everything right at the end of cooking.
Sweet, savory, fast, and easy. I can’t think of a better dinner than these Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Skewers for welcoming the longer days and the warmer weather to come.
Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Skewers
Yields 3-4 servings
Tender chicken flavored with pineapple and soy charred on the grill with fresh pineapple and bell peppers.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces*
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1″ pieces
- Chopped scallions, for garnish
- 8 wooden skewers
Combine the pineapple juice soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl, tupperware container, or plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces and toss or shake to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, no longer.**
Remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer to a plate. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the marinade is reduced and thickened, about 3-4 minutes. You should have just about 3 tablespoons. Pour it into a bowl and set aside.
While your glaze is simmering, preheat the grill or set a grill pan over medium heat. Brush with olive oil or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Thread the peppers, pineapple, and chicken onto the skewers, dividing your ingredients evenly between the eight.
Grill the skewers for about 6 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, turning once or twice throughout. During the last minute of cooking, brush the skewers with the reduced marinade on both sides.
Transfer the skewers to a plate, garnish with chopped scallions, and serve immediately.
*Feel free to use any color bell pepper, or a mix.
**Because of the enzymes in pineapple juice, leaving the chicken to marinate any longer than four hours will cause it to become kind of… mushy. So make sure you plan your timing right.