Tasty Tuesday – Greek… kinda
There are times when I think I should have been born in another country. Why? Because I either identify with a particular aspect of the culture, or I really enjoy a wide range of foods from whatever nation that may be. Let it be known that I love pretty much any kind of Greek or Mediterranean food, and I will never tire of it’s freshness and flavors. I’m drooling again just thinking about it…
You should have seen how antsy Brook was getting as I plated this up so he could take a photo of it for me (my little camera’s battery died, so we had to pull out the big DSLR). It was cute.
So what is it? Chicken souvlaki on fresh homemade pita, with red onion, shredded lettuce, diced cucumber & tomato, with a bit of light and refreshing tzatziki sauce. Some serious eats, if you ask me. If you like fresh food, with bright clean flavors, that will even be friendly to your hips, this is a meal for you.
Let’s start with the base: pita bread. You can either buy some pita or soft flatbread from your local grocery, then warm it before serving so it becomes flexible… or make your own. I’ll link you to the recipe that I use, and boy is it fun to watch them puff up in the oven. It’s like they’re alive! Recipe: Homemade Pita Bread
Now, the toppings: seed and dice a couple of tomatoes and a whole cucumber, dice or thinly slice (up to you!) some red onion, and shred your choice of lettuce. I tend to make my dice pretty small to keep the veggies from falling out of my pita all willy nilly, and make it easier distribute the flavors through every bite. But, do it however you like it best. After all, YOU are the one that will be eating it.
For the Chicken souvlaki: you’ll want to go ahead and prepare your marinade at least a few hours ahead, if not the day before, so your meat will have plenty of time to soak up the flavors and get tender. Combine all of the following in a plastic zip-top bag, shake or massage to be sure all chicken is coated well, then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast – cut into bite-size pieces or strips
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T white wine vinegar (though regular vinegar works fine as well)
- 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (however garlicky you like!)
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 3 T Greek seasoning (or click here for a recipe to make your own)
When you are ready to prepare your meal, remove chicken pieces from plastic bag and thread onto skewers for grilling. If you are unable to grill – like us, as it was raining again – you can go ahead and just cook the pieces in a skillet on your stove. (Note: This chicken is also wonderful on top of a salad, or even on a pizza!)
Finally, the sauce that I pretty much want to put on everything: tzatziki. You may have had tzatziki before, or you may not. This sauce is one of those things that tends to vary slightly depending on your location or whoever is making it. However, three things are always the same – yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. The quantities may differ, and other things may be added, but those are the base. This is how I make mine – and, as always, use this as a guide, but feel free to alter the amount of each ingredient to your liking. After all, I never really measure anything, and these are just my estimates. Combine everything below, and allow to chill for at least an hour before serving.
- 2 single-serve containers of either Greek yogurt, or plain yogurt (we only have single-serve available here, so that’s why I measure it that way)
- start with 1/2 T each of lemon juice and white wine vinegar (regular white also fine), then adjust to taste
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced finely or shredded**
- 3-4 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- salt & cracked black pepper to taste
- either fresh chopped or dried dill to taste (optional – I always add this, just because I love dill!)
** Be sure to give prepared cucumber a good squeeze (between a few sheets of paper towel) to remove excess water before adding to yogurt, or your sauce will become runny.
If you’ve done everything above, it must mean you are now ready to eat! I find it best to use the pita more like a gyro, rather than a pocket, so the sauce doesn’t soak through the bread too quickly. Now, go assemble your pita with however much of each thing you want, and enjoy!
>> Not in the mood for chicken? I have also made these before with meatballs, and they’re just as good! Simply add some Greek seasoning to your favorite meatball recipe, and use them in place of chicken. <<