Pineapple and Fennel Pickles and Sumac Chicken Skewers

Posted October 4th, 2014 by Mimi

This recipe originally appeared in one of the newsletters, before blog posts were available in the forum.

As a lot of those newsletter recipes I contributed get kinda lost in the Newsletter section, I'm slowly re-posting them on my SS blog.

I hope you enjoy them :)

Five Minute Fennel and Pineapple Warmed Pickle Salad

(makes about 500g)

Serve this fragrant pickle warm as a side dish, or store in the fridge and allow the flavours to develop before using as you would any other pickle or relish. Prepare a day ahead for best results.


  • Small saucepan
  • Mandolin style slicer or very sharp knife
  • Dessert spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Apple corer (if you don't have one, just use your knife)
  • Container with lid for storage


  • 2 small or 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 dsp sugar
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp pickling spice or an equivalent amount of spice seeds
  • 1 large red chilli, cut into fine slivers (optional)


Place the vinegar, spices, sugar and chilli in your small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Wash your fennel bulb and remove the stems with foliage attached. Slice the bulb wafer-thin with the mandolin slicer or your sharp knife, and use the knife to slice the stems as finely as possible. If you like the scent of aniseed or liquorice, you'll recognise the fresh, sweet smell immediately.

Peel the pineapple using your sharp knife then use your apple corer or knife to remove the core and cut the flesh into four long wedges. Cut each wedge into fine slices.

Carefully drop your fennel and pineapple into the warm vinegar solution. I love the fragrance of tangy pineapple and the earthy fennel mingled together. It's utterly mouth-watering!

Bring your ingredients to a simmer. Turn the heat off and remove your saucepan, allowing your pickles to cool slightly. Transfer to your container and store in the fridge allowing the flavours to develop for at least 24 hours. The longer you leave it the more flavoursome it will become. To serve warmed, just remove the amount you need and microwave on high for about a minute.

Your Fennel and Pineapple Pickle can be served with any meat dish, but is particularly delicious with chicken, pork or fish. It'll be sublime with your Brined Sumac Chicken Skewers!

Brined Sumac Chicken Skewers (serves 4-6)

Brining is a little like marinating and a little like poaching. It gives the chicken a wonderful succulence and delicate flavour. You'll need to start preparation of your skewers about three hours ahead of serving. This is one recipe where you can get away with cheaper quality brine ingredients as you'll be discarding the liquid after resting the chicken breasts in it.


  • Large saucepan
  • Large deep bowl or container that will fit into your fridge
  • Measuring jug or measuring cups
  • Sharp knife
  • 8-12 skewers, trimmed at the blunt end to fit into your frying pan
  • Large non-stick frying pan


  • 2-4 chicken breasts (or 1-2 double breasts) depending upon your family's appetite
  • 1 litre water
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt (sounds like a lot but it's not in the context of the other ingredients, and you need it to balance the flavours)
  • Sumac
  • Extra vegies for the skewers like capsicum, onion, zucchini and so on
  • 2 trays of ice cubes
  • Cooking oil


Place the water, soy sauce, oil, and sugar into your saucepan and stir over a high heat until the sugar is dissolved, then remove immediately from the hotplate. Add the ice cubes to the liquid to cool it to room temperature as quickly as possible (it can't be warm or it will start to cook the chicken). Transfer the liquid to your container, immerse the chicken breasts completely and refrigerate. Leave to rest for about two hours. In fact, you have a rest too. You deserve it!

After two hours, remove the chicken and discard the brine. Use your sharp knife to cut the chicken into fairly substantial chunks and thread on to the skewers. You can also thread wedges of onion, capsicum or other vegies between the chicken pieces if you like. Sprinkle the sumac liberally on every side of the chicken. It's not a 'hot' spice like chilli or curry, so use as much as you like. It's also a lovely reddish-brown colour, so your chicken will look really exotic!

Cook your skewers in the frying pan over a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. When they're this thick, it's better to cook them a little slower and turn them often. The great thing about brining is that you'll impart a wonderful new flavour and succulence without worrying about burning the marinade in the pan, a common problem with many marinades due to their high sugar content.

Serve with a yummy salad and some rice or couscous and, of course, your fennel and pineapple pickle on the side.

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