Greek Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

The Mediterranean diet, popularized in the 1970s, is inspired by the cuisine of parts of Greece and Italy in the early 1960s. The American Diabetes Association writes about “Mediterranean-Style Eating”, mentioning “the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle … of … eating healthfully … together among family and friends”, and asserting that “Mediterranean cuisine is plant-based”, citing the ingredients “whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil”, and stating that most foods “in a Mediterranean diet come from plants”.

Greek Cuisine is a major player in the Mediterranean diet.  This Chicken Souvlaki is a wonderful dish with loads of herbal favors.  The dish makes a great lunch or dinner.

Souvlaki Marinade

  Ingredients:

  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast, fat removed, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • Pita bread
  • Sliced tomato, cucumber, onions, and kalamata olives

Instructions:

Prepare the marinade. In a bowl of a small food processor, add garlic, oregano, rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice. Pulse until well combined.

Place chicken in a large bowl and add bay leaves. Top with marinade. Toss to combine, making sure chicken is well-coated with the marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Soak 10 to 12 wooden skewer in water for 30 to 45 minutes or so. Prepare Tzatziki sauce and other fixings.

Thread marinated chicken pieces through the prepared skewers.

Prepare outdoor grill. Brush grates with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill in batches until well browned and internal temperature registers to 155 degrees. Be sure to turn the skewers.

Move chicken to platter and let rest for 3 minutes. Briefly grill the pitas and keep warm.

To put together, first spread Tzatziki sauce on pita, remove chicken from skewers and add. Last add veggies and olives.

Tzatziki Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • ¾ English cucumber, partially peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Instructions:

Prep the cucumber. In a food processor, grate the cucumbers. Toss with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Move to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl drain. Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheese cloth. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place the garlic with the remaining ½ teaspoon, white vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix to combine.

Add the grated cucumber into the bowl with the garlic mixture. Stir in the yogurt and white pepper. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for a few hours.

Before serving stir again well. Add a little more olive oil, if desired.

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