Greek Chicken Souvlaki With Tzatziki Sauce And Rice Pilaf

Summer is short where we live, so we made best out of it every year.  June, July months are the months of food festivals and carnivals in our area.  Many churches and cities throw their food festival around this time and we attend them with a bunch of our friends every year.  Its a good time to enjoy some good food with friends along with the outdoor activities most of the festivals provide.

There is a Greek Orthodox church close to our house and their food festival is around this time of the year.  We enjoy their Chicken Souvlaki and their yellow pilaf very much.  The good food, music and the traditional dance performed by their youngsters are the highlights of their food festival.  We miss all the food festivals this year.  So on July 4th weekend, I decided to make the Souvlaki and rice and surprise the kids.  It was a hit and kids loved it and they agreed that it was juicy, tender and packed with flavors just like how we get it at the festival.  

Souvlaki means meat on skewers.  Its similar to the kabobs.  The flavors are just to the point that you would like.  The overnight marination makes the chicken breast juicy and tender.  The recipe is simple and has only few ingredients.  The buttery rice pilaf is the perfect combo for the Chicken Souvlaki.   The Tzatziki sauce is a perfect dip for fresh cut vegetables.  We enjoyed it with some cucumbers.  Hope you will give these recipes a try.

Chicken Souvlaki
yields - 12 Souvlaki

4 - chicken breast
2 big gloves - garlic minced/grated
1 tsp - salt
1 tsp - dry oregano
1.5 tsp - freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp - olive oil
Juice of 1 medium size lemon

  • Trim the fat from the chicken breast; wash & pat dry with paper towel.
  • Cut the chicken breast into 1 inch cubes.
  • Add the chicken pieces, grated garlic, salt, ground pepper, oregano, olive oil and lemon juice into a stainless steel/glass bowl and mix well till everything is coated well on the chicken pieces.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 4 hrs or overnight.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 1 hr.
  • Thread the chicken pieces on the prepared skewers.
  • Set the indoor/outdoor grill on medium heat and cook the chicken on each side (4 sides) for 5 minutes.  It will take up to 20 minutes or till the outside is lightly browned and inside is no longer pink.
  • If preparing the skewers on a stove top, use the grilled cast iron pan for better results. Use a low to medium heat for cast iron pan. Rotate the skewers every 5 minutes till all the sides are cooked and lightly browned and the grill marks appear.
Rice Pilaf
Serves 4-6 people

2 cups - long grain rice (I used Uncle Ben's long grain rice)
4 cups - chicken broth (I used Orrington Farms Broth base $ seasoning)
1 tsp - lemon juice
3 tbsp - butter
use salt to taste if the broth is sodium free
1/2  tsp - freshly chopped oregano

  • Add all the above ingredients except oregano in a sauce pan and cook till it starts to boil.  
  • Lower the flame and cover it with a lid.
  • Cook till all the water evaporates.  Fluff it with a fork.  
  • Garnish with fresh oregano leaves.
Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup - Greek yogurt/hung yogurt
1/2 - English cucumber
1/2 clove - grated garlic
1 tbsp - chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp - olive oil
salt to taste

  • Peel the half English cucumber and grate it.  Add a pinch of salt to the grated cucumber and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Squeeze the excess water that oozes out from the cucumber.
  • Mix the cucumber with yogurt, grated garlic and chopped mint.  Add salt to taste.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr before using it.

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