The quintessential Greek dish, this recipe for greek chicken souvlaki is made with simple ingredients for the perfect authentic summer meal.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to another contributor (aren’t you LOVING the new contributor recipes? I am blown away by all the talent in food-blog land!) to Sweet C’s- Louise from Living Lou! Louisa lives in Canada, but her family is from Greece- and she shares tons of delicious recipes her family loves! I’m so excited to see some of her ideas- and I know you will too!
My family lives in Greece, so I grew up spending my summers on the beautiful island of Kephalonia which is in the Ionian sea.
This island is absolutely beautiful, and while it doesn’t have the white and blue houses like Santorini, it is filled with pastel coloured houses with terracotta roofs. There are white and yellow sandy beaches, perfectly turquoise water, olive groves and wineries.
Because I’ve spent so much time there, my knowledge of Greek food and Mediterranean cuisine is just something that is second nature to me, so much so that I have plenty of authentic Greek recipes and Greek-inspired dishes on my site.
Today I’m sharing what I think is probably the most quintessential Greek dish: chicken souvlaki. In Kephalonia, souvlaki is traditionally made with pork, but for as long as I can remember, I have always preferred chicken.
The island lifestyle is completely different from the go-go-go, frantic pace of my life in Toronto. I’m sad that I won’t be heading back this summer, but I try to bring a little bit of Greece into my daily life through food. There are a few things that are really important when cooking Greek or Mediterranean-style dishes, but I believe that the most important is to start with a high-quality olive oil – this is the base of so many dishes.
My grandfather actually makes his own olive oil which is incredibly delicious. It’s so smooth and fruity, unlike any olive oil you can buy here. I know that having your own olive trees and making your own olive oil sounds insane to us, but it’s actually pretty common over there – I wish we had the same thing here!
What I love about Greek cuisine is that for the most part, it’s incredibly simple, but oh so flavourful. It basically encompasses my entire philosophy around food; simple, fresh and flavourful. Over there, local produce is plentiful and everything is just bursting with flavour.
There’s nothing I love more than heading to the local farm and picking up whatever produce they have literally just picked from the field and letting myself be inspired. That experience is completely different from going to the grocery store and even better than going to a farmer’s market.
When we’re not cooking, we’re ordering in from a local, family-run takeout restaurant in our village. They make the best souvlaki and gyros and deliver it right to your door via motorbike. This Greek chicken souvlaki is inspired by this tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and I think I figured out the flavours perfectly.
This recipe starts with a simple marinade for the chicken, a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano and garlic powder. I opt to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic here because when grilling, garlic tends to burn which would give this dish a bitter taste. You could also switch out the dried oregano for dried thyme here, as those herbs are pretty interchangeable in recipes.
In a glass bowl, whisk olive oil with lemon juice, oregano, salt and garlic powder. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat and soak wooden skewers for 20 minutes. Thread chicken onto skewers.Grill, covered, for 4-5 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.