One of my friends is a souvlaki purist. She gets offended when souvlaki is made in any variation other than the ‘traditional way’. Me? I don’t mind so much. I like a bit of variety and experimentation but not so far as totally changing a dish.
I scoured the web for a good souvlaki recipe that didn’t veer off into strange ingredients and fancy methods. I just wanted grilled, tasty chicken wrapped in a pita with a punchy garlic sauce and this recipe was the one I decided to go with. The only thing I did differently was not skewer the chicken, ain’t nobody got time for that. I simply sliced the chicken breast into strips and cooked it on a cast iron grill. Yum! That was my favourite part, scraping all the gooey, caramelised chicken bits on the bottom of the pan….Happy days.
I also did not use kalamata olives or red onion because I didn’t have any on hand…and I’ve never had olives in a souvlaki and didn’t feel like I wanted to…
- For the Chicken:
- 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium cloves garlic, grated (about 4 teaspoons)
- For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (see note above)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium clove garlic, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 cup greek yogurt (see note above)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- For the Salad:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 small red onions, sliced thin
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced into thin half moons
- 3/4 cups pitted kalamata olives
- 6 ounces crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 6 pitas
- In medium bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Place chicken cubes in a separate medium bowl. Mix in grated garlic and 7 tablespoons of dressing. Toss chicken to coat evenly, cover, and refrigerate to marinate for about 2 hours, tossing occasionally. Set remaining dressing aside for salad.
- While chicken marinates, make the tzatziki sauce: Place cubed cucumbers in strainer set over bowl. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit to drain, about 30 minutes. Gently pat cucumbers dry with paper towel, place in small bowl, and mix with garlic, yogurt, and dill. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Skewer chicken pieces on 8 to 12 skewers. Discard used marinade. Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on grill pan) until well browned and internal temperature registers 155° on instant read thermometer, turning evenly to cook on all sides, about 5 minutes total. (Adjust temperature of grill if necessary). Remove chicken to a serving platter and let rest 3 minutes. Meanwhile, briefly grill pitas and keep warm.
- Just before serving, prepare the salad: Whisk olive oil into reserved chicken marinade. Add tomatoes, onions, cucumber, olives, feta, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve skewers with salad, pita, and tzatziki sauce. Remove chicken from skewers to stuff into pitas with sauce and salad.