Souvlaki is a Greek fast food very similar to the Mid-eastern shish Kebab but consisting of smaller pieces of marinated meat, skewered, and cooked over an open flame. Any type of meat can be used, including fish, and vegetables may also be included. This particular version of souvlaki uses lamb and is served with pita bread and a tzatziki sauce.
- 2 ½ lbs lamb leg or shoulder, cut into chunks
- 5-6 tbsps olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dried Greek oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme or fresh thyme, chopped
- ½ tsp smoked sweet paprika (optional)
- ½ tsp cumin (optional)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 metal or wooden skewers
For the tzatziki sauce
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ C extra virgin olive oil
- 18 ozs of strained yogurt (preferrably sheep or goat)
- 1-2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
- a pinch of salt
- 10 pita breads
- olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt to taste
Cut the lamb meat into 1 inch sized chunks and set aside.
The Marinade – In a large bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices and fresh ground pepper – hold off on the salt. Add the meat and the chopped onions and blend to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, chill and let marinade for at least 4 hours, 8 hours is recommended.
The Tzatziki Sauce – Pour in a blender the olive oil and grated garlic and blend until combined. Remove the skin and the seeds of the cucumber and grate it into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and leave aside for 10 minutes. Wrap the grated cucumber in a towel and squeeze, in order to get rid of the excess water. In a bowl, add the cucumber, the blended garlic and oil, the yogurt, 1-2 tbsps of red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and blend, until the ingredients are combined. Store the tzatziki sauce in the fridge and always serve cold.
The Skewers – Using either use wooden or metal skewers, thread the marinated lamb chunks, equally over the 10 skewers. Add salt as desired.
Over a prepared grill, cook the lamb souvlaki for about 10-15 minutes, or until cooked to the desired degree.
While the skewers are on the grill, prepare the pita breads. Preheat the oven to 475° F. Use a cooking brush to lightly oil the pita breads on both sides and season with salt and oregano. Place a large oven tray at the bottom of the oven and place the pita breads on top of the tray. Bake for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely coloured on both sides.
Serve the souvlaki skewers with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. The souvlaki goes well served over a bed of couscous or wild rice, accompanied by a feta salad.