I was going to make soup. But the weather has been a little hot lately, with triple digit temperatures reminiscent of summer, not October. My plan was to make a harvest chicken soup, taking advantage of the peppers and tomatoes that are still going strong in our California garden. Instead, and because the thought of a simmering pot of hot soup in the kitchen is unbearable, I re-configured the ingredients, threading them on skewers and cooking them on the grill. A pearl couscous salad was the perfect accompaniment, served at room temperature with flecks of chiles and fresh herbs from the garden.
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Pearl Couscous
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large chicken breasts, without skin, 6 to 8 ounces each, cut in 1-inch pieces
Pre-soaked bamboo skewers
2 large sweet red and/or yellow peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large chipotle pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut in 1 inch pieces
Pearl Couscous Salad
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh Italian parsley sprigs
Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place chicken in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours (or overnight), turning once or twice.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Thread chicken on skewers alternating with peppers and onions. Grill over direct medium heat, turning once, until browned and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and slide chicken and vegetables off of skewers. To serve, spoon Pearl Couscous salad onto serving plates. Top with chicken and vegetables. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little fresh squeezed lemon juice. Garnish with fresh parsley.