Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce

mostly from

Souvlaki Marinade:
3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

4 large pita bread rounds

1 heart of romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, halved and sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup pepperoncini
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 large cucumber - peeled, seeded and shredded

Make the sauce first (I've done it the day before and chilled it overnight, and it turns out fine):
  1. Use a cheese cloth to strain the yogurt over a bowl for 3 to 4 hours, until most of the water has drained.
  2. Press excess liquid out of the shredded cucumber. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and strained yogurt. Mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and mint. Chill the mixture for 1 to 2 hours.
Then marinate the chicken:
  1. In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinaigrette, juice from 1/2 lemon, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over the chicken, seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to cook:
  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and place on prepared grill. Discard remaining marinade. Cook chicken until juices run clear, about 8 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from heat, and allow to sit about 10 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
  3. Place chicken strips in pita bread, add sauce and any additional toppings.
I've served this cold and it still tastes great. Also, I have made the sauce without mint, I simply didn't have any, and it was very tasty. Oh, and throw the pita on the grill for a minute or so until hot, then fill it with the chicken, etc.