Chicken Spiedies

for the chicken:
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 3 lemons
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

to serve:
soft Italian or “deli” rolls

Place all of the chicken ingredients in a marinating container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on (soaked if bamboo) skewers. Place on a platter and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill. When ready, place the skewers on the grill and cook, 3-5 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

Lightly grill the insides of the bread (brush with oil first if desired). Remove the skewers from the chicken, place inside the roll. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:

I’ve seen Spiedie marinade at a few stores (mostly NY and NJ based chains) and was intrigued so I googled it and it turns out that speidies are Binghamton, NY’s specialty. There is even a speidie festival! The origins are a bit murky but it seems like it was brought to central NY state by Italian immigrants and soon became a bar and street fair favorite. Sort of like central NY’s answer to barbecue.

Originally they were made with lamb but there are also variations that use beef, pork, and chicken. Chicken is always super popular (and cheap!) so that seems to be the most common variety now. Chicken breast seems to be the most popular but chicken thighs are so much more flavorful and grill so nicely, I used them instead. The marinade is easy, you take your basic Italian spices (parsley, oregano, basil), vinegar, garlic, lemon juice and interestingly, mint and toss it all together. So easy! You could use all fresh herbs but I don’t have much of an herb garden this year and I find that dry herbs work just as well in a marinate if not even better because they distribute more evenly in the liquid. You don’t want to marinate the chicken too long since the mix is so acidic so about 4 hours will do it. The marinade makes the meat so super flavor and tender it doesn’t need anything else. A bit of mayo can be good, though. Try these sandwiches the next time you grill, it is just as easy as kabobs but a bit more fun!

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