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Chef's Table: Moroccan Grilled Chicken Thighs with Scallion Farro, Zucchini and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

This isn’t your everyday chicken dish. Our James Beard award-winning chef, Tim McKee, shares the recipe for one of his favorite sauces or marinades: Moroccan charmoula. This fresh, bright sauce brings a depth of flavor that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary... 

November 20, 2018

This isn’t your everyday chicken dish. Our James Beard award-winning chef, Tim McKee, shares the recipe for one of his favorite sauces or marinades: Moroccan charmoula. This fresh, bright sauce brings a depth of flavor that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Paired with chewy farro, grilled alongside zucchini and topped with a tahini-yogurt sauce, this chicken will have everyone begging for seconds.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

8 skewers
12 ounces boneless chicken thighs
3 small zucchinis

For the scallion farro
½ cup farro
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of scallions
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

For the chermoula
1 bunch Italian parsley, washed and finely minced
1 bunch cilantro, washed and finely minced
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon cumin, ground
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 pinch saffron threads
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the tahini yogurt sauce
1 clove garlic
1 ½ tablespoons tahini paste
½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

For the scallion faro
1. Slice the entire white part of the scallions and 2” up the tops into fine rings. Set aside. Slice the scallion tops into fine rings. Reserve to finish the farro.
2. In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the white half of the scallions, salt and pepper, and sauté until softened. Add the farro and toast for about a minute, stirring constantly. Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining scallion and the lemon juice.

For the chermoula
1. Mince or finely grate garlic. Consider using a Microplane.
2. Combine the chopped herbs, garlic and spices in a mixing bowl. In an additional small bowl, mix the saffron with the lemon juice, and allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
3. Whisk the olive oil into the saffron/ lemon juice mixture. Whisk the olive oil mixture into the herbs and spices. Separate into thirds.

For the tahini yogurt sauce
1. Mince or finely grate garlic.
2. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.



For the chicken and zucchini
1. Cut the chicken thighs into ½ inch wide strips. Cut the zucchini in quarters, lengthwise.
2. Marinade the chicken in 1/3 of the chermoula. Separately, toss the zucchini in 1/3 of the chermoula. Reserve the remaining 1/3 for finishing the dish.
3. Skewer the strips of chicken. Season the chicken and zucchini with kosher salt and grill until the chicken is cooked through (165°). Grill the zucchini until it is lightly charred on all sides, and slightly softened, but not soggy.
4. To finish the dish, spoon the yogurt sauce onto plates. Spoon the farro in the center of the plate with the grilled zucchini on top. Put the chicken skewers on top of the zucchini, and drizzle the remaining chermoula over the dish.

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