Here in Southern California, summer seems to last until October. Seeing as it’s September, I’ve got plenty of time. I have to enjoy cooking outside while the weather is still nice.
Chicken Souvlaki is a type of Greek “fast food” meaning meat (and veggies) cooked on a skewer. It can be any kind of meat really – today, we’re grilling chicken! In this recipe, you grill the chicken skewers, pile it into a pita along with the grilled veggies and tzatziki sauce and you’ve got yourself a pretty good meal.
This meal is perfect for warm weather because it involves minimal prep time and the cooking is done outside on the grill (did I mention that it’s super easy?).
Chicken Souvlaki with Homemade Tzatziki
Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers for lunch the next day)
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 lemons (for 1/4 cup juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large bell pepper (red, green or both)
- 1 red onion
- Salt and pepper
- Pita bread or wraps
For the tzatziki sauce:
- 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove – pressed or minced super fine
- 1/2 cucumber
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Pinch of salt
Make the tzatziki sauce: whisk the lemon juice and garlic together in a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the cucumber and slice it down the middle. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Dice the cucumber into very small pieces.
Add the yogurt, cucumber, mint, parsley and salt to the lemon juice and garlic. Stir it together and set it aside in the fridge.
Marinade for the chicken: Combine the olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of salt. Cut the raw chicken into squares (about 1-2 inches thick). Put the chicken in a bowl and toss with the marinade.
Chop the bell pepper and onion into squares. Put the chicken, onion and bell peppers on the skewers. Heat the grill and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, turning every 7 minutes or so. The chicken will be done when it’s browned on all sides and no longer has pink inside when cut.
I read in Cooks Illustrated Magazine that when putting meat on a skewer, it’s a good idea to put the veggies on each or the outsides and the meat in the middle (like I did in the image at the top). When you alternate meat and veggies, the veggies tend to get overcooked by the time the chicken is done. With the veggies on the side, you can center the heat on the chicken while the veggies cook in the less-hot spots on the grill. This seemed to work well!
When the skewers are just about done, throw the pitas on the grill to warm them up. To serve, put chicken, peppers, onion and a generous scoop of tzatziki sauce in a pita, wrap it up and serve!
I used an oddly shaped wrap, so I used foil to hold it all together.