Monday, August 9, 2010

Week of Greek! {Chicken Gyros}

*Photo Courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe*

Recently we had the best greek meal at home and I was looking at the table I realized it would take several posts to share it all with you, therefore starting off the Week of Greek!

Cheesy, I know, but you won't care once you've tasted it.

It was all seriously the best meal I have had in a long time and my picky eater husband loved it too. You know there are recipes you try and they are good, but not memorable or are just okay? Well this one goes in my new dinner rotation. I truly can't wait to make it again. The chicken ends up tender and flavorful. The sauce is creamy and has just the right balance of cucumber and lemon. I will say up front that this meal takes some planning as some of the steps need to be done the night before but it is oh so worth it. The meal included chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce {in a homemade soft wrap bread} and rice pilafe. This week I will share the recipes for all of it. I am starting with the gyros, recipe courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe.

What You Need: {Tzatziki sauce}

16 oz. plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press {or finely minced}
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

What You Need: {Chicken}:

4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Soft wrap bread {recipe coming soon}
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin
Crumbled Feta cheese
Kalamata Olives

Directions: {The night before}
To make the tzatziki sauce, you either need to use plain Greek yogurt {common brands are Oikos or Fage} or you can use regular plain yogurt. If you use regular yogurt, you will need to strain it for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove the moisture and acheive a rich, creamy sauce. I had regular yogurt on hand so I did strain mine. I did not purchase cheesecloth and you don't need to, either. I simply took a clean dish towel and laid it over a large bowl. I used clothespins to secure the cloth from falling into the bottom of the bowl. I placed the yogurt right on the dish towel and left in the fridge. You need to let it rest at least 4-6 hours but preferably overnight.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Place the chicken and the mixture into a storage bag or dish, over and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Directions: {day of}
Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. I just continued adding lemon juice until I had the consistency I wanted, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I sauted them in a hot skillet.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut chicken breasts in half and slice thinly.

 Top pita bread with chicken, tzatziki sauce, tomato, onion, feta, olives or other garnish of your choice. Serve immediately. Enjoy! {But not have to wait until I post the bread and the pilafe!}

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