This is a recipe for your cheap gin - keep the snazzy stuff for drinking. I used Tesco Value, which I'm yet to sample in a refreshing beverage, but it tastes good as a marinade!
I paired my chicken with cucumber, which is the obvious G&T choice - I love cooked cucumber, but if you're not keen, substitute another veg. Something mild and unassuming works better than say, a green pepper - we want to enjoy the tender, fragrant, gin-soaked chicken without a pesky, overbearing vegetable hogging the limelight.
Gin & Tonic Chicken Kebabs (makes 5)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 1-2 hours
Cooking time: About 20 minutes
You will need:
- 500g diced chicken breast
- Juice of 2 limes, cut into wedges after the juice is squeezed
- 150ml tonic water
- 100ml gin
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- Half a cucumber, roughly chopped into thickish half-moons
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- In a large zip-lock bag, combine the chicken, lime juice and wedges, tonic water, gin and juniper berries. Seal, shoogle it about, and pop in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably closer to two hours (don't marinate this overnight - the flavours are too strong, and the lime juice will start to "cook" the chicken).
- For about half an hour before you start cooking, soak 5 or 6 wooden skewers in cold water - this stops them going up in flames. Quite important.
- When you're ready to cook your kebabs, fire up your grilling device of choice - barbecue, grill, or George Foreman (other lean mean grilling machines are available). Opt for the highest heat possible.
- Assemble your kebabs, alternating pieces of chicken with chunks of cucumber. Chuck 'em on the grill - how long they take will depend on what you're using. Under the grill, they'll probably take 15-20 minutes (turn them regularly). On a George Foreman they'll take less time, as they're being cooked on both sides at once; and on a barbecue, they could take as little as 5 minutes, depending on the heat. The best idea is to break a bit off to test whether it's cooked all the way through.
- While the kebabs are cooking, sieve the marinade, discarding all the bits and pouring the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over a high heat, stirring all the while (the tonic will fizz and foam, so beware!). Keep it boiling for 2-3 minutes. Don't taste it before it's had a goodly boil - it's been hanging about with raw chicken, remember!
- Turn down the heat to a medium flame, and add a teaspoon of sugar, the chilli flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep simmering until it's reduced down into a sauce - add a bit more sugar to balance the lime, if it needs it.
- Once the kebabs are cooked through, serve with the sauce drizzled over the top, and some lime wedges - and a gin and tonic - on the side. Summer on a stick.