Call them chicken souvlaki or Greek chicken kabobs. Either way, they’re delicious!
If you’re new to souvlaki, hang onto your hats; you’re in for a treat. Basically, souvlaki (soo-vlah-kee) is a popular Greek street food. Consisting of skewered marinated meat that is quickly seared over a hot fire, it’s typically eaten right off the skewer or stuffed into pita bread. It can also be served as a dinner over a bed of rice with grilled vegetables. Occasionally, I’ll add a skewer to fresh salad greens for the perfect Greek salad. Smaller skewers could even be used as an appetizer.
Traditionally, pork or lamb is used, but chicken, beef and even firm fish such as swordfish or tuna will also work quite well.
What makes this dish so delicious is the marinade. The herbs of the Mediterranean come together in such a way, that it imparts a perfect balance of flavor to whichever meat is used. Then of course, there’s the flavor from the grill.
As if that’s not enough flavor, souvlaki isn’t quite complete without a tasty sauce. Tzatziki, a cucumber-yogurt sauce is most common, but a mint-lime dipping sauce or other creamy sauces may also be served with it.
Grab some bamboo skewers, hunt down a tasty looking bird and let’s make some souvlaki…chicken style!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- fresh squeezed lemon juice (for serving)
- bamboo skewers
- Go ahead and thread the chicken on the skewers. It's less messy to do it now than after it's been in the marinade. Just be sure you have a baking dish or resealable bag that is the proper size to accommodate the skewers. If not, marinate the chicken pieces without the skewers.
- Add all ingredients except the chicken in a bowl and mix well. Pour marinade into a large plastic freezer bag or into a baking dish. Add the chicken. Press out the air and seal freezer bag or cover baking dish. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours; more is better. Turn occasionally.
- Remove chicken and pour marinade into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 8 minutes. Allow to cool. Note: Never reuse a marinade that has had raw meat soaking in it unless you first boil it for several minutes.
- Slide chicken pieces onto the skewers if not already done.
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill. Over high heat, grill skewers for 6 to 10 minutes, rotating and basting a couple of times with the reserved marinade. When cooked through and browned on ALL sides, remove from grill and squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on each skewer. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
- Serve with pita and sauce or on a bed of rice.