Spicy Chicken Strips with Apricot-Orange Dipping Sauce
Spicy Chicken Strips with Apricot-Orange Dipping Sauce

So...may I introduce you to my new favorite main course? Appetizer? Snack? Whenever you choose to serve these delectable Spicy Chicken Strips with this addictive Apricot-Orange Dipping Sauce, I guarantee you, it will be the right time!! My home judges have deemed it one of their favorite summer dishes by far (although there's absolutely no reason you couldn't knock people's socks off with this during the other 3 seasons)!!

When I think about chicken breasts, I think about the very real possibility of infinity. Now, my thinking may not be exactly scientific, but let me explain. You'd think that by now, the world would have run out of new ways to make the ubiquitous and common skinless, boneless chicken breast seem new again, but no, here's this wonderful and easy recipe proving me wrong and demonstrating that at least when it comes to chicken breasts, there may be such a thing as infinity! Anyway, ignoring my crazy logic, suffice it to say that this dish is a keeper!!

The chicken is not only tender and slightly spicy with that wonderful charred barbecue flavor, but also sweet because you marinate it in the apricot preserves. And that sweet/spicy thing is only more enhanced by the irresistible deliciousness of the apricot-orange dipping sauce. Everyone was jostling for better access to the bowl during dinner, leading me to think that the next time I make this dish, I had better provide individual dipping bowls, to prevent dinnertime injuries!

I served these for dinner recently but they would also be a great appetizer if you're planning any Labor Day shindigs. They're great lukewarm too so you can make them ahead and have them all ready to go when your guests arrive. Just make sure to have the recipe handy (I promise it will be requested) and make sure to have enough sauce, because I can't be held responsible for what might happen if you run out!

Spicy Chicken Strips with Apricot-Orange Dipping Sauce

Makes 4-5 servings as a main course or 8-10 as an appetizer
Prep Time for Chicken:  10 minutes to put together, plus at least 30 minutes to marinate (can be marinated and refrigerated for up to one day); Cook Time for Chicken:  10-15 minutes; Prep Time for Sauce:  5 minutes, plus about 30 minutes of standing time


For the Chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips across the grain
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 shakes paprika
  • 2-3 shakes garlic powder
  • 1-2 shakes black pepper
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

The Recipe

1.  Place the chicken in a large bowl and toss with the parsley, salt, orange zest. red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Add the the apricot preserves and coat well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to one day.

2.  To make the dipping sauce:  Use a blender or food processor to puree the apricot preserves and vinegar together until smooth--about 1 minute. Pour into a small bowl and add the parsley, zest, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at 30 minutes so flavors can combine. You can make the sauce up to 2 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator, well covered.

3.  To prepare the chicken: Use metal or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for about 10 minutes so as not to catch fire, and weave several pieces of the chicken onto each skewer. Prepare a hot fire on the grill and brush the grill grates lightly with oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray so that the chicken doesn't stick. Lay as many skewers as you can on the grill and cook the chicken for about 5-8 minutes on the first side until there are nice grill marks visible. Then carefully turn the skewers and cook for several minutes on the other side until it too has grill marks and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the cooked skewers to a plate and repeat with the rest of the chicken. When all of the chicken is done, remove from the skewers and transfer to a serving platter. Pour the dipping sauce into a small bowl and serve the chicken with the sauce immediately.


Note:  Recipe adapted from The Best Light Recipe by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. I tinkered around a lot with measurements and make this a BBQ recipe rather than one that is done under the broiler.

Print Friendly and PDF