Grilled chicken thighs with tahini yogurt sauce and roasted veggies. (photo: Doreen Prei)

Chef Doreen Prei’s Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tahini Yogurt Sauce


Simplicity is key for Fire Masters champ and Alberta chef Doreen Prei.

For her Backyard BBQ recipe, she opted for grilled chicken thighs and roasted vegetables with simple marinades. “If you overpower your protein or vegetables with something, you’re not able to taste the actual ingredients,” she says. “Olive oil and fresh herbs basically brings out the flavour in anything you want.”

Prei is the executive chef at Edmonton’s Zinc Restaurant and the food columnist for CBC Radio’s Radio Active. In May, she won an episode of Food Network’s barbecue show, Fire Masters, with her take on Bun Cha, a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and rice noodles, and a Greek-inspired feast, including grilled lamb rack with eggplant.

Prei used to teach at Edmonton’s Get Cooking, so she knows overcooking chicken is a common problem.  “Chicken can dry out really, really quickly so for this recipe, I decided to marinate it really simply with olive oil and lots of lemon—chicken likes lemon—then salt and pepper and fresh herbs,” she says. “If you marinate this for at least 12 hours, you’ll get the nicest flavour and the acidity helps tenderize the chicken.”

Once your chicken and vegetables are grilled, drizzle them with tahini yogurt sauce—another nice and simple recipe. (See below.) Enjoy!

4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice and lemon zest to taste
fresh oregano or thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1 garlic, crushed

Marinate the chicken by rubbing it with garlic and lemon zest.

Add lemon juice and olive.

Refrigerate up to three days.

Preheat your grill on high heat.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.

Grill on high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.

Turn down the BBQ to a low heat and grill for about 20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

Rest for 5 minutes and slice.

Note: You can check if the chicken is cooked by using a small knife to poke into the meat. If the juices run clear, it indicates that the chicken is cooked.

1 cup tahini
½ cup of yogurt (full fat Greek)
lemon juice to taste
1 glove garlic, crushed
salt to taste
water (for consistency)

Place all the ingredients (but the water) and blend.

Add cold water gradually to the desired consistency.

Taste for salt and lemon juice.

zucchini (cut in rounds)
peppers (cut in bigger triangles)
mushrooms (cleaned)
red onions (cut in bigger slices)

Marinate the vegetables with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, freshly chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley, crushed garlic.

Heat up the BBQ to a medium high heat and grill your vegetables to your desired liking.

Visit AMA’s Backyard BBQ partners to pick up all your barbecue needs. Check them all out here!