March marks the end of summer in Australia, but what is awesome about March is all of the Greek Food Festivals celebrating Greek Independence Day (the 25th) which commemorates the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. To help you join in these celebrations, I bring you my Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki recipe with homemade pita bread and a nicoise salad. This is going to knock your socks off.
Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki Recipe Part 1 – The Marinade
Everything here looks awesome!
You need to begin by preparing your marinade. The best way to do this is to use a medium to large zip lock bag. All you need to do is add 4 TBS of extra virgin olive oil, 2 TBS of minced garlic, 2 TBS of lemon juice, 1 tsp of dried oregano, 1 tsp of dried thyme, 1/2 tsp of smoked sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp of cumin, a 1/2 tsp of freshly ground pink Himalayan rock salt, a 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper and an optional 1/2 tsp of smoked chilli to the zip lock bag and gently toss it to ensure that the ingredients combine properly.
Once this is done you’ll need to add your lamb. I used a 1 kilo piece of lamb loin but a butterflied leg would also work well. Make sure the meat is cut into 3 cm cubes. Then add the lamb to the marinade. Massage the meat well so the marinade gets drawn into all the nooks and crannies. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, put it on a plate and put the lot in the fridge for a minimum of four hours but no longer than overnight. Periodically, jostle the bag to ensure the marinade has a chance to evenly coat all surfaces of the meat.
Try and find made for purpose bags if you can…
If you’re using wooden skewers, you’ll need to soak them for at least half an hour before you want to start using them. Once you have your skewers soaking you can start to prepare your pita bread.
Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki Recipe Part 2 – The Pita Bread
Doesn’t look like much yet…
This dough is incredibly easy to make. To begin, combine 500 grams of self-raising flour, 1 tsp of freshly ground pink Himalayan rock salt, and 1 tsp of caster sugar in a large bowl. Mix them thoroughly. You can use a fork or spoon if you like. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can get your hands in there. You’re going to get them in there shortly anyway!
Make a small dam in the middle of your flour mix and add up to 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water a little bit at a time. It’s really important that the water be lukewarm and not cold. If it’s cold then the dough won’t rise and you get a very heavy, dense bread. I’ve had to learn that one the hard way!
With that in mind, once your dough is at the right consistency (soft but not sticky) leave it on your kitchen bench for at least 20 minutes with a clean tea towel over the top. You need the dough to double in size.
While you’re waiting for this to happen, now is the perfect time to prepare your nicoise salad (chop it up and throw it together!) and get your lamb on your skewers. You can also make your Garlic Yoghurt dressing by simply grabbing some Greek Yoghurt and adding minced garlic to taste. Then, go outside and preheat your BBQ to a medium-high heat. We’ll be using both the hotplate and the grill for this recipe.
Just look at the colour in that marinade!
Now that your dough has doubled in size you need to break it off into six or eight good lumps and put it in the middle of a piece of baking paper roughly 15 centimetres square. Using a second one the same size, push down evenly from the top, adjusting where necessary to flatten it out into a round shape. You can use a rolling pin but it isn’t necessary. Now, grab your skewers and pitas and head to your BBQ.
Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki Recipe Part 3 – The Cooking
Using a fork to make some holes make it look even more authentic…
It’s important to use a dry hotplate for cooking your pitas – no oil! Just slide them onto the hotplate using the baking paper. After approximately two minutes you can turn them with a metal spatula and peel off the paper. You can give them more time if they need. As they finish, move them up onto your warming rack.
Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki coming right up!
While your pitas are cooking, your skewers can hit the grill. You’ll want to give them two to three minutes on each side. Don’t stray far from the ‘Q though: lamb releases a lot of oil when it’s hot and it loves to catch fire.
Greek BBQ Lamb Souvlaki Recipe Part 4 – The Eating
To serve up, slice a pita in half and then carefully slice through the pita creating a pocket. Put in some salad and a few pieces of meat and dress it with your garlic and yoghurt sauce. Kali Oreksi! (Have a good meal!)
Got a favourite Greek BBQ recipe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.