I’ve received countless questions about what I eventually did with those kumquats that inspired dinner the other night!! OK, so no one’s asked. But let’s, just for a moment, pretend someone had. I’d say that we just returned from a few quiet days in Central Oregon where my love and I played scrabble on a sunny patio, walked meadows with our dogs, went to bed early, and ate simply. I’d tell them that because I knew there was a grill there, I packed my bag of lovely kumquats. (There ought to be a song.) I thought that if anything could improve upon the incredible flavor housed in that little fruit, it would be eating them outdoors straight from the grill. I’m not going to claim they were better (I’d say) but let me tell you what they were. The gentle heating seemed to cause the sweet peel of the kumquat to share its sugars with the tart fruit inside. I’d tell them that as a mouthful, they were deliciously warm, had the tiniest bit of sweet char, and were oozy with juice! Paired with the citrusy-marinated chicken and grilled fennel bulb, it was quite the flavorful plateful! And thank you for asking! (I’d say.)
(For alternative ways to prepare a similar meal, or for substitutions, see Other Options at the bottom of the page.)
Earlier I shared a favorite Moroccan recipe for orange, red onion, olive and fennel salad. I suppose this dinner was inspired by that salad.
Citrusy Chicken Kabobs with Kumquats & Fennel
(serves 4 – 6)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless, large chicken breasts
- 2 or 3 small, or 1 to 2 large, fennel bulbs (fronds, stems and hard core removed, bulb cut into wedges or cubes)
- 1 – 2 red onion, cut into cubes or wedges
- kumquats – minimum of 4 per person (you’re going to love them)
- olive oil to brush on the onions and fennel
- metal skewers
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt & coarsely ground pepper
Prepare the chicken by removing cartilage, veins and fat. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
Prepare the marinade in a small bowl by whisking all marinade ingredients together. Either in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag or in a medium bowl, combine the marinade and the cut-up chicken. Coat the chicken well and refrigerate (covered with plastic if using bowl) for about an hour. (30 minutes minimum.)
I recommend skewering the onions on a separate skewer, and likewise, the fennel bulb. You can combine kumquats with chicken pieces, or put each on their own skewer. (I did some of each – cut kumquats when skewered with the chicken.) In any case, you don’t want to overcrowd them or they won’t cook properly.