While traveling in Greece a few summers ago, I enjoyed the simple convenience of souvlaki. A Greek version of fast food. Souvlaki is meat or chicken marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs, skewered, grilled and served with pita bread and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce). This December Redux Recipe (Recipe Redux is a website that hosts monthly cooking themes) comes from a Greek cookbook that reminds me of my grandfather’s cooking. My grandfather was from a small island off the coast of Greece. As a young child, I can remember him making his own yogurt, cooking with rich, green olive oil and snacking on pungent, oil cured olives and feta cheese. My five-year old palate did not appreciate these strong flavors but I’m thankful he introduced them to me because as an adult, I love them all. For this recipe, I used chicken breast instead of meat and took the liberty of adding dates, onions and tomatoes to the skewers. I love the combination of sweet, charred dates and onions with the juicy tomatoes and grilled chicken. Instead of pita bread, I opted for grilled zucchini and eggplant along with the creamy tzatziki sauce.
Grilled Chicken Souvlaki with Dates, Onions and Tomatoes
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds chicken breast (cut into 1″ cubes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 container cherry tomatoes
- 1 onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 cucumber (peeled and grated)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt,
- salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, wine, garlic, pepper, salt, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary and lemon juice. Add the chicken cubes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. While the chicken is marinating, make the tzatziki sauce. Thread a piece of chicken on a metal skewer (or water soaked wooden skewer), along with a piece of onion, date, tomato. Repeat. Place the skewers on a hot grill pan or on an outside grill and cook until browned and chicken is cooked, about 10 minutes. If the chicken pieces are not cooked all the way through, remove everything from the skewer and finish cooking on the grill pan. Makes ten, 10 inch skewers.
In a small bowl, mix together cucumber, garlic, yogurt, salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Greek Cooking For Everyone by Theoni Pappas and Elvira Monroe, page 106