Before we discuss anything else, know that this souvlaki has immediately shot to the top of my favourite-blog-recipes-ever list. It’s that good.
Let me break it down; super-juicy chargrilled chicken marinated in lemon and oregano, crispy oven-fries tossed with feta, tangy mustard aioli, quick lemon-pickled onions, fresh cucumber and parsley all wrapped up in a downy-soft pita bread. Tell me you’re not into this.
Now, let’s talk authenticity. I cannot vouch for it. I am not Greek and have never been to Greece (though GOOD LORD, I would love to go). But, there is a thriving Greek community in Australia. In fact Melbourne has the largest Greek community of any city outside Greece.
Of course one of the MANY benefits of having such an awesome Greek community is the food, which is brilliant even up here in Brisbane.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘…sure, blah blah, Greek community. But Sarah, I’m having a hard time believing that they put fries on their souvlaki in Greece’ *skeptical face*. Well, hold onto your monocles, because APPARENTLY they totally do.
And these aren’t just any fries. They are your new best friend. Hot, crispy and cooked in the oven, because I can’t be bothered to deep fry, and then tossed with a salty and aromatic mixture of dried thyme, oregano and crumbled feta.
If you’re avoiding gluten, these fries alone, with some chargrilled chicken and a mixed salad of cucumber, parsley and these lemon-pickled onions is a completely delicious and satisfying meal.
If anything’s going to take the sting out of your Monday, it’s these guys. There are a lot of component parts, I know, but it’s all crazy-simple. No one job will take you more than five minutes to do.
The hardest part is getting your hands on good-quality pita bread; it’s gotta be soft, soft, soft, and that cardboardy supermarket nonsense will not do. If you want to make your own, I’ve been using this recipe, and they turn out beautifully. Anyway, I hope you try these. You’re missing out if you don’t!
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 medium sized potatoes
- canola oil (or another oil with a high smoke point)
- 2 oz (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
- a pinch each of dried thyme and oregano
- 4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 small red onion
- pinch of salt
- juice of half a lemon
- sliced cucumber
- picked parsley leaves
- pita bread
- First, place the chicken thighs into a shallow, non-reactive bowl, with the oil, oregano, lemon juice, garlic and a big pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour - any longer than that and the acid will start to cook the meat.
- While the chicken is marinading, wash and slice the potatoes into chips, about half an inch (1cm) thick. Place into a saucepan and cover with cold water, and then bring them to the boil. Boil for two minutes, and then drain.
- While the chips are boiling, get a metal tray large enough to hold them and pour in enough canola oil to just cover the bottom of the tray. Place the tray into the oven, and set it to 400F/200C.
- Once the tray has been heating for at least 15 minutes, carefully add the drained chips, and shuffle them around so they sit in one layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then take them out and flip them over and bake for a further 20 minutes.
- While the chips are cooking, the chicken can be cooked on the stove top in a griddle pan, or on the barbecue. Either way, the chicken needs at least 7 minutes a side, to cook through completely. If you're not sure, cut a piece open, and if you need to, you can finish cooking the chicken in the oven with the fries.
- To make the aioli, simply stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- To make the pickled onions, simply peel and slice the onion into fine half moons, and then toss it with the salt and lemon juice, scrunching the onion lightly in your hands. Set aside for at least ten minutes.
- When the fries are done, take them out of the oven and drain briefly on paper towels, before tossing them with the crumbled feta and herbs.
- Slice up the chicken, and then take everything to the table, and let people pile up their own pita bread with aioli, chicken, fries, pickled onions, cucumber and parsley. These are great with a beer alongside or a shot of ouzo, if ya nasty.