Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A surprise hit

Chicken Souvlaki
Food and Wine Magazine’s Quick From Scratch Chicken Cookbook Copyright 197, 2001, 2004
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, peeled, seeded, and grated
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4) cut into 1-inch cubes I used tenders
4 pocketless pitas
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature I used less
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges I used grape tomatoes
1/3 cup black olives, such as Kalamata, halved and pitted

1. Put the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a paper towel and set it over a bowl. Let drain in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. I drained in it a yogurt strainer for about 10 hours. In a medium glass or stainless stainless-steel bowl, combine the cucumber with 1 teaspoon of the salt; let sit for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the cucumber to remove the liquid. Put the cucumber back in the bowl and stir in the drained yogurt, the garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and the dill. *I added sour cream and some white vinegar.
2. Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, oregano, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss the chicken cubes in the oil mixture and thread them onto skewers. I didn't use skewers (to save time). Grill the chicken over high heat or broil, turning once, until done, about 5 minutes in all. I broiled the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
3. Spread both sides of the pitas with the butter and grill or broil, turning once, until golden, about 4 minutes in all. Cut into quarters.
4. To serve, put the pitas on plates and top with the onion, tomatoes, and chicken skewers with any accumulated juices. Serve with tzatziki and olives.

I thought this recipe was going to be a miss, but it turned out to be a hit. Once you put all the elements together, it was really delicious. Even my husband commented that it was really good.

I had to tinker with the tzatziki because I'm not a huge fan of plain yogurt. I can't get good Greek yogurt around here either. I added a bit of white vinegar (after looking at another tzatziki recipe) and some sour cream. That did the trick. I don't think there's anything wrong with the recipe as they presented it - I just changed it due to personal preferences.

I was going to skip the butter on the pita but I'm glad I didn't. Buttered, grilled pita is great! Why should I be surprised - butter makes everything taste better.

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. If you think you might enjoy it too, stay tuned for the December cookbook giveaway announcement. Yep, I scored a copy for some lucky person.

This isn't the most veggie packed dish for Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday but it's the closest I've come in weeks so I'm going to submit it.

I'm going out for our Christmas lunch today. I can't wait. It's a restaurant run by a cooking school. Should be interesting. Seems early for a holiday luncheon though.

Blast From the Past: Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings from February 2006. Another great recipe (especially the blue cheese dip) from this book.

Question of the Day: Do you have many holiday related parties or events planned?


Anonymous said...

I think souvlaki is my favorite way to have chicken. This recipe sounds really wonderful!

Wanda said...

Actually, no - not this year. I have taken a haitus from several things, so that just leaves the family Christmas Eve 'dinner' (actually, mostly snacky type things), and possibly IF I absolutely feel up to it and the planets are perfectly aligned, a Posada at our house at some point. We usually don't really have Christmas Day dinner, but since I am taking it easy(-ier) otherwise we may. But if so, it will be small and simple.
There will also be the parish Christmas party (covered dish) on the 17th, and I'll probably take iced Christmas cookies to that, since no one else ever makes them to take anywhere.

Anonymous said...

No, we're pretty much wet blankets! Just our family Christmas dinner, which we have on Christmas Eve and the tree/gift thing afterwards. And that's FINE with me!


Anonymous said...

I've never made souvlaki myself, but I love it.