Spring. End of school. Memorial Day Weekend. All good causes for celebration; and of course, for my marinated Mediterranean grilled chicken!
Over the many years of my living in the United States, I have observed this: The month of May, like January, is a month of resolutions.
Neighbors anticipate summer with joy, but also with a bit of strange reverence. The precious and brief summer months bring with them much-needed sunshine. More relaxed schedules (at least when it comes to kids’ activities). Vacations. And an overall sense of adventure.
For these reasons, when May approaches, it brings with it a mindset of preparations and resolutions– from rigorous detox and weight-loss efforts to de-cluttering and organizing projects.
Suddenly, the streets are filled with determined runners at all hours. And blocks are studded with garage sale treasures and treasure hunters. Summer is coming soon.
Me? I do try and tie the laces on my long-neglected running shoes. I wish I took part in spring projects. I live in what some might call “managed chaos.” In full color. And I’m finally okay with that.
This time of the year, what mostly occupies my mind is the farmers market. The fresh bounty of green produce tucked under my arms. Warm-weather eats. And of course, the tantalizing aroma of barbecue.
My resolution this spring, and every season, is to eat well. And to feed those around me.
Many springs back–I believe it was spring 2003–to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday, I made this Mediterranean grilled chicken recipe for the first time. Not so much for the little one, she was happy with a dinner of birthday cake. But for the rest of the family and friends. And ever since, it’s become a go-to recipe for grill nights.
I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. It’s a personal preference; and I feel that you simply can’t go wrong with boneless thighs, they are cheaper and juicier than chicken breasts. To give it flavor, I make a nice rub with lots of minced garlic and spices like allspice, nutmeg and cardamom. Then the spiced chicken thighs are placed in a large dish with lemon juice, olive oil and red onions. I prefer to let the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight, but if that is not possible, then for 2-4 hours or so before grilling.
When I made this last week, I decided to add a savory dill Greek yogurt dip or sauce on the side. You may have thought that I only liked my yogurt sweet, judging by my last recipe of crostini with peaches and orange whipped Greek yogurt or my earlier yogurt parfait with Khalua and nuts. But there are many easy savory Greek yogurt applications that I enjoy, this dill Greek yogurt sauce is certainly one of them. Two ingredient stars: dill and garlic! If you are garlic-shy or garlic-friendly, you can certainly adjust the amount of garlic to your liking.
Every bite of this juicy, flavor-packed grilled chicken coupled with the dill yogurt sauce is absolute bliss! I hope you give it a try this weekend or sometime soon.
Here is the step-step-for this grilled chicken + dill Greek yogurt sauce:
(print-friendly recipe to follow)
First make the dill Greek yogurt sauce. Combine the minced garlic fresh dill, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Run the food processor until all the ingredients are well blended and a smooth thick sauce or dip develops. Test and add salt if needed. Transfer to a small bowl or container; cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to use. If moisture develops, simply discard it and give the dill yogurt sauce a quick stir before serving.
In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, spices and 3 tbsp olive oil.
Pat the chicken thighs dry and rub each with the garlic-spice mixture.Place the spiced chicken thighs in a large tray on a bed of sliced red onions with lemon juice and the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil (make sure the chicken is nestled well into the juice and onions). Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
When ready, heat a gas grill to medium-high. Place the chicken thighs on the grill. Cover for 5-6 minutes, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5-6 minutes covered.
Serve with a side of the dill Greek yogurt dip you prepared earlier!
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken + Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 8
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
For the Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill, stems removed
- 1 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
- Salt, if needed
For the Grilled Chicken:
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
- Salt and pepper
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 medium size red onion, sliced
- Juice of 1-2 lemons
- First make the dill Greek yogurt sauce. Combine the minced garlic, fresh dill, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Run the food processor until all the ingredients are well blended and a smooth thick sauce or dip develops. Test and add salt if needed. Transfer to a small bowl or container, cover and refrigerate.
- In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, spices and 3 tbsp olive oil. Pat the chicken thighs dry and rub each with the garlic-spice mixture.
- Place the spiced chicken thighs in a large dish on a bed of sliced red onions with lemon juice and the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
- When ready, heat a gas grill to medium-high. Place the chicken thighs on the grill. Cover for 5-6 minutes, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5-6 minutes covered.
- Serve with a side of the dill Greek yogurt dip you prepared earlier!
- To complete this light meal, add Greek potatoesor pita bread and a salad like Fattoush Salad.
– The dill Greek yogurt sauce will keep well overnight, but you may have to discard any extra moisture that shows up on top. Give it a quick stir before serving.
– To be sure the chicken is done, your thermometer, testing the thickest part of the chicken, should register 165 degrees F.
– You can use chicken breasts if you prefer, adjust the cooking time accordingly.