If you think kefir is only a refreshingly tart yogurt drink brimming with healthy probiotics, then you’re missing out on another reason it’s great to have kefir in the kitchen.
Kefir is a fantastic marinade for chicken. The acidic nature of kefir makes it the perfect tenderizer, especially for chicken breasts.Kefir also has a way of really soaking the flavors of a marinade into meat. This recipe uses lemon and dill, but any blend of herbs or spices can be whisked into a kefir marinade.
Kefir marinated chicken is tender, succulent and deeply flavorful. If there’s still some kefir left in the bottle, then use it to whisk together a tangy, creamy kefir dressing (recipe below). Leftover chicken tossed into a salad with kefir dressing is a delicious lunch the next day.
Time in the Kitchen: 3-8 hours to marinate, plus 35 minutes to cook
1 cup plain kefir (240 ml)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped dill (80 ml)
Zest of half a lemon
2 pounds chicken (breasts, thighs, drumsticks or a combination), with or without skin (900g)
Whisk together kefir, garlic, dill, and lemon zest.
Place the chicken in the kefir marinade, making sure each piece is coated.
Marinate at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake most of the marinade off. Lightly coat the chicken with oil, then season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Grill the chicken over medium-high heat or roast it in an oven.
Grilling chicken: Pound the thickest part of the chicken breast down to a thickness that is even with the rest of the breast. If the entire breast is ¼ to ½-inch thick grill the breast for about 4 to 6 minutes a side. Drumsticks and thighs can take longer to grill, about 30 minutes, and can be turned more frequently.
Roasting chicken: Preheat oven to 400 ºF/204 ºC. Arrange the chicken pieces on a baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes. Start checking the breasts after 20 minutes, as they will cook faster.
Cook all chicken to a temperature of 165 °F/74 ºC.