Grilled Chicken Souvlaki

My step Dad is Greek and we’ve been introduced to a host of amazing traditional Greek dishes at family gatherings.  Souvlaki is traditionally meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer, then served in a pita wrap with a sauce.  My step Dad claims that the traditional souvlaki and gyros are served with french fries wrapped into the mix (yuck in my opinion, but Derek, my lover of hamburger and fries, feels that is the only thing this recipe is missing).  This recipe I actually clipped from a Cooks Illustrated Magazine, but it’s delicious and I don’t think too far from traditional (unless you count the missing french fries).  This only serves 4, so I generally 1 1/2 or double it.

GRILLED CHICKEN SOUVLAKI

Tzatizki Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced to paste (can be doubled if you like it more assertive)
  • 3/4 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced fine (1/2 C)
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 3/8 tsp salt

Chicken Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus 1/4 C juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 green pepper, quartered, stemmed, seeded and each quarter cut into 4 chunks
  • 1 small red onion, ends trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise, each half cut into 4 chunks
  • 4 (8-inch) pita breads (or it can be served along side rice instead

Directions for the Tzatziki Sauce:

  1. Whisk lemon juice and garlic together in small bowl.  Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in yogurt, cucumber, mint, parsley, and salt.  Cover and set aside.

Directions for the Chicken:

  1. Dissolve 2 Tbsp salt in 1 quart cold water.  Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. While chicken is brining, combine oil, parsley, lemon zest and juice, honey, oregano, and 1/2 tsp pepper in medium bowl.  Transfer 1/4 C oil mixture to large bowl and set aside to toss with cooked chicken.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels.  Toss chicken with remaining oil mixture.
  4. Assemble metal skewers like such:  Thread 4 pieces of bell pepper, concave side up, then thread 1/4 of the chicken, then 2 chunks of onion on the end.
  5. Lightly grease a large piece of aluminum foil with to wrap the pita in.   Lightly moisten 2 pita breads with water.  Sandwich 2 unmoistened pita breads between the moistened pita bread and wrap the stack tightly in the aluminum foil.
  6. Heat the grill on high until hot (about 15 minutes).  Leave the primary burner on high and turn off other burners.
  7. Clean and oil the cooking grate.  Place skewers on hotter side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken and vegetables are well browned on all sides (15-20 minutes).
  8. Push chicken and vegetables off skewers and into bowl of reserved oil mixture.  Stir gently, breaking up onion chunks.  Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, place pita packet on cooler side of the grill.  Flip occasionally to heat, about 5 minutes.
  10. Spread tzatziki sauce on warm pitas and fill with chicken and vegetables.  Roll into cylindrical shape and serve.

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