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Yogurt marinade locks in flavor

| Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, 5:16 p.m.
Grilled Turkish Chicken
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Grilled Turkish Chicken

There is still time to enjoy an outdoor barbecue as autumn approaches. Barbecued chicken is really simple to prepare and is a good standby dish for casual backyard parties. When I am cooking it with a traditional sweet tomato-based sauce, I don't marinate it, because the sugar in the sauce will burn the chicken. But marinating overnight in this yogurt sauce is the secret to locking in the flavor and producing tender, succulent chicken.

When I developed this recipe, I wanted the flavors of Turkey along with the Indian cooking technique of yogurt-marinated chicken. Rather than roasting these in a very hot oven, I like to barbecue the chicken pieces until nicely crisped and bursting with citrus undertones. The combination of spices brings together an appealing, slightly spicy flavor. Chicken breasts and a cut-up chicken provide variety for both white- and dark-meat preferences. You can also use cut-up chicken-breast pieces threaded on skewers.

I like to serve this for informal dinners. Start with a simple arugula salad and accompany the chicken with a cold vegetable or rice salad. Don't forget to serve the reserved sauce on the side with some warm pita bread. You can also serve this cold.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.

Grilled Turkish Chicken With Yogurt Sauce

For the marinade and sauce:

2 cups plain 2-percent or full-fat Greek-style yogurt

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium shallots, finely chopped

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

34 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 lemons, thinly sliced

3 medium whole chicken breasts, halved

1 fryer chicken (about 3 12 pounds) cut into pieces

1 small bunch parsley, for garnish

Thoroughly combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Add the sliced lemons and taste for seasoning.

Reserve 1 cup of the marinade with some of the lemon slices for the sauce. Refrigerate.

Place the chicken pieces in the bowl and, using your hands, evenly coat all the pieces with the marinade. Cover the chicken and refrigerate overnight and up to 24 hours for the best flavor, turning the pieces occasionally.

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill it 3 inches from the flame for 7 to 12 minutes on each side, depending on the size.

Place the chicken on a serving platter and garnish it with parsley. Serve immediately with the reserved sauce.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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