Chicken Kebab with Moutabal

Moutabal is the aubergine equivalent of Lebanese hummus, rich with garlic, lemon and olive oil pounded with smoky grilled aubergine. It’s luscious and silky, giving its creamy richness to these simply seasoned, quickly made chicken kebabs. I matched it with squeaky al dente fine green beans from my extraordinarily prolific front garden plants and a garnish of jewel-like diced tomato but new potatoes are a good alternative. Moutabal, incidentally, will keep, covered, in the fridge for a few days but rarely gets the chance in my house.

Serves 4
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min

12 wooden kebab sticks
2 aubergine, approx 250g each
1-2 cloves garlic
6 chicken thigh fillets
2 lemons
olive oil

Immerse the kebab sticks in water to avoid burning. Turn on the overhead grill. Pierce the aubergine a few times, place on a small roasting tin about 4cm from the heat, turning every 6 minutes or so until the aubergine is saggy, the skin scorched. Holding the stalk, slash lengthways in quarters, leave to drain in a sieve. Crack, peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Unfurl the chicken and cut into slightly smaller than usual kebab chunks. Thread equally between the kebab sticks, lining them up on the chopping board. Use a pastry brush to smear with olive oil. Add a squeeze of lemon. Heat the griddle smoking hot over a medium heat. Meanwhile, scrape the aub flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, juice ½ lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add generous pinch salt and several grinds pepper. Blitz, scraping down inside the bowl, then add 3-4 tbsp olive oil in a trickle. Blitz smooth, taste and add more garlic, salt, lemon. Cook the kebabs in batches turning when crusty. Serve dollops of moutabal, kebabs, lemon wedge and whatever you fancy.