Firecracker Chicken and Chayote Skewers, photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Firecracker Chicken and Chayote Skewers

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5 skewers
I don't know what it is about food on a stick, but it's just plain fun to make and eat. These skewers are a fantastic party food!

My favorite summertime foods are skewers, kabobs, "pinchos" or "alambritos" - anything on a stick!  These firecracker chicken and chayote skewers are divine. 

The annatto paste gives them the most vibrant red color. The dish is perfect for warm summer days and nights, and also healthy to maintain your summer figure.

If you're not familiar with chayote, it's a green, mild squash. It soaks up whatever flavor you cook it with and pairs deliciously with meat. You can purchase it in most grocery stores, but it's more easily found in Latin supermarkets.

Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • 10 wooden sticks ten inches long
  • 3 large chicken breast boneless
  • 1 ounce achiotes (annatto paste)
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 chiles de árbol dried and crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large orange squeezed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Chayotes
  • 5 wooden sticks ten inches long
  • 1 large chayote
  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 1 orange sweet pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder mild
  • olive oil to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. To make the firecracker chicken marinade, combine all of the ingredients listed for the chicken, except for the chicken and skewers, and pulse in a blender until smooth. Taste for salt and set aside.To make the firecracker chicken marinade, combine all of the ingredients listed for the chicken, except for the chicken and skewers, and pulse in a blender until smooth. Taste for salt and set aside.
  2. Butterfly the chicken breast, then cut into long half-inch-wide strips. Transfer to a glass bowl and add the marinade. Butterfly the chicken breast, then cut into long half-inch-wide strips. Transfer to a glass bowl and add the marinade.
  3. Stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.Stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. While you wait, slice the chayotes so they are all uniform in size. Transfer to a bowl. While you wait, slice the chayotes so they are all uniform in size. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Add chile powder, salt, pepper and olive oil, stir well until evenly covered. Cover and chill for 1 hour.Add chile powder, salt, pepper and olive oil, stir well until evenly covered. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  6. Soak the wooden skewers for 30 minutes before using, so they do not burn on the grill. At this time, preheat your stove top grill pan to low-medium heat. Line stove top grill pan with foil paper and brush with oil.
  7. Prepare the chayote skewers in any variation you like. This recipe makes about 5 skewers.Prepare the chayote skewers in any variation you like. This recipe makes about 5 skewers.
  8. Prepare the chicken skewers with about 3 strips per skewer. Do not overcrowd the chicken pieces. You should have enough for about 10 skewers. Prepare the chicken skewers with about 3 strips per skewer. Do not overcrowd the chicken pieces. You should have enough for about 10 skewers.
  9. Turn the heat up on the grill pan to slightly above medium heat. Cook your chicken skewers first, as they will take a little longer than the veggie skewers. For chicken, about 6 minutes on each side; turn as needed. Turn the heat up on the grill pan to slightly above medium heat. Cook your chicken skewers first, as they will take a little longer than the veggie skewers. For chicken, about 6 minutes on each side; turn as needed.
  10. Cook the veggie skewers for 3 minutes on each side, until you start to get some grill marks. You may need to add a little more oil to the grill pan as the skewers cook.
  11. Serve with your favorite side sauces. Enjoy! Serve with your favorite side sauces. Enjoy!

Chef Notes

Annatto comes in various forms: seeds, paste and powder. Having worked with all three, the paste is easiest for this recipe. These skewers pair fabulously with your favorite rice dish.

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