Souvlaki Chicken

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I absolutely love cooking with Mediterranean ingredients. They always produce dishes that are fresh, bright and full of flavor – they also rarely contain a large amount of fat which is a nice perk! I probably use lemon, red wine vinegar, oregano and capers in some way on an almost daily basis; like for seasoning meat and fish and to create delicious homemade dressings. As you know, another thing that I love to do is grill. With those two things in mind, I naturally had to come up with my own version of Souvlaki Chicken.

This recipe is so easy and delicious to make. You have the traditional souvlaki base flavors of lemon and oregano, intertwined with new flavor touches. The earthiness of sage, the salty brininess of capers, the unique aromatic flavors of Herb de Provence and fresh dill and the punch of red wine vinegar all work together to create more depth and complexity to the traditional marinade.

The tangling of all these ingredients, new and old, help to reinvigorate this well-loved dish.  All in all, it is a marinade that you will love to make and one that your family will love to eat.

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To make the marinade, you will need fresh dill, dried oregano, herb de provence, dried sage, fresh garlic, lemons, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, capers, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper.

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As for the chicken preparation, take 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them horizontally into three sections – forming 3 cubes per breast. Since you will be grilling them on skewers you want to make sure that they are large enough so they don’t overcook. (If you choose, you can easily cook the chicken indoors on a skillet instead, either in cube form – sans the skewers- or with an intact breast.)

Like I said, this recipe is super easy to make. All you need to do is coarsely mince the dill and garlic then whisk all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, add the chicken breast – or other meat/fish of choice – and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.

If you plan on using wood skewers, begin soaking them 30min-1hour before you are about to use them.

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Preheat the grill to 500 degrees.

Once the chicken has finished marinating, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and begin skewering the chicken cubes – I like to lightly cram them together on the skewer so the pieces are up against each other.

Lay the raw chicken skewers on a large plate and sprinkle both sides with a little more salt and pepper to ensure that they are properly seasoned. Next spoon some of the remaining marinade from the marinating dish over the chicken. (Don’t forget to grab the remaining chunks of garlic, capers, dill and other herbs in the bowl and spoon that over the chicken skewers as well – that’s the best part).

Another thing I like to do with the extra marinade from the bowl is to skewer some chopped raw vegetables – red onions, squash, zucchini, tomatoes – and spoon the leftover sauce over them as well. Finish the veggies off with a little salt and pepper after and they are good to go on the grill alongside the chicken. Note that if you are using tomatoes, cook them after the main items are done (or at least almost done) since they are more delicate. They only need 2-3 minutes a side (4-6 minutes total) on medium heat. (You can cook them while the chicken is resting.)

Place the chicken skewers on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on high to get a nice char on one side. Then lower to medium-high, flip the chicken skewers over and grill for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is slightly firm but not completely stiff to the touch.

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Remove the food from the heat, allowing it to rest for a couple minutes, then serve hot or at room temperature.

I love to serve this Souvlaki Chicken (and grilled vegetables if you make them) over brown rice or red and white quinoa. It is also amazing the day after in a low-carb pita with feta cheese, grilled red onions, and grilled tomatoes. Yum!

Souvlaki Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce, Marinade, Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano, chopped if fresh
  • 2 teaspoons Herb de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 juicy lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons capers with 1 teaspoon caper juices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken breasts horizontally into large cubes (3-4 cubes per chicken breast)
  3. Add chicken cubes to the marinade and marinate in refrigerator for 3-6 hours
  4. Soak wooden skewers 1 hour before use
  5. Preheat grill to 500 degrees
  6. Remove marinating chicken from refrigerator and begin skewering chicken cubes, pushing down the pieces so they touch each other on the skewer
  7. Lay raw chicken skewers on a large plate and season both sides with salt and pepper (to ensure they are properly seasoned). Spoon some of remaining marinade from the leftover marinating dish over chicken. (Don't forget to grab the remaining chunks of garlic, capers, dill and other herbs in the bowl and spoon that over the chicken skewers as well - that's the best part).
  8. OPTIONAL: skewer chopped raw vegetables - red onions, squash, zucchini, tomatoes - and spoon over leftover marinade on them as well. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Place chicken skewers (and vegetable skewers) on grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on high to get a nice char on one side. Note: if grilling tomatoes, cook after everything on medium (or on top grill rack) for 4-6 minutes, 2-3 minutes per side.
  10. Lower grill temperature to medium-high, flip skewers over and grill for another 5 minutes or until chicken is browned and slightly firm but not completely stiff to the touch
  11. Remove skewers from heat, allow the rest briefly, then serve hot or at room temperature

 

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