Marinated chicken breasts which make an amazing chicken brochette.
Σουβλάκι κοτόπουλο. Years ago our parents, and each of our families, spent several weeks in Greece. It was a special trip because we were all together, for almost the entire summer. There were periods during which we went our separate ways, to visit places and people outside of our Kalamata home base, but otherwise we were together. It was also the year that our dear cousin got married, and the first time that our extended family met Billie’s daughters, the youngest being 3 years old at the time.
As with any great trip there are many special moments that can be recalled from that summer, yet if we’re honest, there was some trepidation going in. Would this be too much togetherness? Would the younger girls adjust to the lifestyle in Greece? Would everyone get along, all the time? Those nagging feelings? They went away our first night there.
Our first day in Kalamata, after just barely settling in and still jet-lagged, a few of our cousins took us for dinner while our parents stayed behind with our aunt and uncle. We were tired, but hungry, and so off we went. It was quite late in the evening and the girls were thrilled that dinner in Greece was at the same time as their Canadian bedtime.
The table was filled with platters and plates piled high with pork souvlakia, bowls of tzatziki, dolmades, bread hot off the grill, olives and potatoes. We ate, and drank, and laughed for hours. Food and wine transitioned to dessert and coffee, and then the waiter remembered that he had forgotten to bring out the chicken souvlaki that had also been ordered during dinner. We told him to forget it; we were fully satisfied, and full! But he insisted that he bring a stick for each of us, on the house, to apologize for the delay. Dessert and coffee transitioned to chicken souvlaki and a shot of ouzo, with cheers and good cheer all around. We knew then that our summer would be just fine.
What is the difference between chicken souvlaki and chicken brochette?
A brochette is cooked meat (usually grilled) served on a brochette, which is a French term for skewer. A souvlaki is essentially the same thing, but of Greek origin. Other terms for meat on a stick are kebobs, and even satay. Some of these are more similar to each other than others, but the basic premise is the same. Meat, often marinated, cooked and served on some sort of skewer or stick.
How long should I marinade the chicken for?
In our recipe we recommend a minimum of 3 hours, but the longer the better. Be sure to keep your chicken in the refrigerator while it is marinating, and stir it up regularly while it is in the marinade mixture.
What is the best way to serve chicken souvlaki?
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- Outdoor grill
- Wooden or metal skewers
- Meat thermometer (optional, but highly recommended)
- 4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsps dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
- Cut your chicken breasts into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
- Combine all of the ingredients (except for the chicken) in a medium size bowl. Whisk until well combined and then add in the chicken.
- Using a rubber spatula, or your hands, ensure that all of the chicken is coated in the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight..
- An hour or two before grilling your chicken souvlaki soak your wooden skewers in water. This is important in order to ensure that they don't burn. If you are using metal skewers you can skip this step.
- Prepare your souvlaki by skewering between 5 - 7 chicken cubes on each skewer. Discard any of the marinade which remains in the bowl.
- Prepare your outdoor grill by oiling your grill surface lightly, and preheating to medium-high heat.
- Grill your chicken souvlaki until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). This will take about 12 - 15 minutes; be sure to turn your souvlakia occasionally during the cooking process.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!