Gingery Chicken Satay Kebabs with Peanut Sauce

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention peanut butter’s savory side this week.  As much as I love to bake with the stuff (Or heck, jut slather it on a piece of toast), it can make some seriously delicious sauces and marinades.  This is one of them.

I started with a recipe for chicken satay and jazzed it up a bit by adding colorful chopped peppers and onions along with some sweet, juicy pineapple.  The combination was spot on, if I do say so myself–visually strong and oh-so tasty.  Add in the rich, creamy peanut sauce and you’ve got yourself a win-win-win.

Gingery Chicken Satay Kebabs with Peanut Sauce
adapted fromFine Cooking

4 large shallots
4 large garlic cloves
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 6 in. only, outer leaves peeled and inner stalks cut into 1-in. pieces
2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 TBSP minced or grated fresh ginger
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
3 TBSP dark brown sugar, divided
2 TBSP fish sauce, divided
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-in. cubes
3 TBSP vegetable oil, plus more for grill grates
1 c. unsweetened light coconut milk
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-in. squares
1 large red onion, cut into 1-in. squares
1 pineapple, cut into 1 1/2-in. cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
3 TBSP cilantro, chopped

1.  In a food processor, combine shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chiles, ginger, soy sauce, coriander, and ground pepper.  Add 2 TBSP brown sugar and 1 TBSP fish sauce.  Process to a paste.  (Some fibrous bits of lemongrass will remain.)  Transfer half the paste to a large bowl.  Add chicken piece, toss to coat, and allow to sit 30 minutes, at room temperature, or up to 4 hours, refrigerated.

2.  Meanwhile, submerge 16 wooden skewers in water and heat grill to medium heat.  

3.  Over medium heat, warm 1 TBSP oil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in peanut butter and remaining TBSP brown sugar and fish sauce.  Bring to a simmer, then transfer to food processor, add lime juice, and purée until smooth.  Transfer to individual serving bowls.

4.  Remove skewers from water and thread chicken, bell pepper, onion, and pineapple onto skewers.  Drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

5.  To cook, oil grill grates to.  Lay skewers perpendicular to grates and cook 3-4 minutes.  Using tongs, turn skewers and cook 3 minutes more.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with peanut sauce.  Serves 8.

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