All the way back in 2011, I did an undergraduate course in Greece. This was where I first discovered that, even though I’d been a very fussy eater until a couple of years before, I loved Greek food. We ate a lot of very fresh produce, tomatoes we crunched like apples, herbs picked straight from the fields, freshly baked bread and creamy feta. But the one food that made a huge impression on me, the one I knew I needed to bring back home, was souvlaki and gyros.
Souvlaki, while it originally dates back to Ancient Greece, is almost a kind of fast food today. You can find stalls and little shops all over the country where pieces of meat and vegetables are grilled on a skewer, then stuffed into a pillowy kind of flatbread with tzatziki, a selection of fresh salad vegetables (usually tomatoes, cucumber lettuce and onion), and a handful of fries garnished with oregano. Sounds strange, but it works! You can see where we started making this when I returned from Greece here.
Since then, we’ve upgraded our souvlaki offerings so that we have a veritable repertoire of different ways to prepare this dish. While we originally used chicken marinated in garlic, lemon juice and dried herbs, today we sometimes swap that for pork or lamb. We’ve also delved into making our own flatbreads as the shop bought pittas just weren’t quite right for it.
For Christmas, I bought Ben Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin. It arrived the other day and I immediately had to flick through it before I hid it away for his gift…well, that changed my plans! The book is no longer waiting for Christmas – in fact, we’re doing recipes from it all week now! This is a book I’ve seen exceptionally good reviews of, especially from people I know and trust like Charlotte who has shared so many recipes from it on her Instagram. Scanning the pages, I spotted this recipe and thought it might make a nice twist on our old souvlaki recipe, perfect for a light Saturday night tea the day after my work Christmas party.
We decided to do our own twist on this rather than following the exact recipe as there were a couple of bits we knew wouldn’t work for us (I can’t have soft goat’s cheese right now – thanks, baby! – and Ben refuses to eat raisins in savoury dishes!), plus we wanted to make our own flatbreads too.
I believe the flatbread recipe was originally a Jamie Oliver one, and it works excellently. People often think making anything bread-like is complicated and takes a long time, but this recipe takes 3 ingredients and you can have warm, fresh flatbreads on the table within about 10 minutes. Makes you look very chef-like making your own too!
Instead of marinating and grilling morsels of meat on skewers, this recipe uses a quick spiced rub on whole lamb leg steaks. It doesn’t permeate through the meat as it might do with a marinade, but instead it catches on the griddle and chargrills in a very tasty way. You also end up with lamb that’s tender and can be cooked to blushing in the middle thanks to using full steaks rather than pieces of meat.
We could have included the oregano fries for a more authentic Greek fast food experience, but there was definitely plenty of food. As a result, we ended up with this super tasty and fresh feeling supper of chargrilled lamb flatbreads that was actually very quick and easy to make.
Let me know if you try this recipe or if you have your own twist on a Greek souvlaki. I think this would also be amazing with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and a bit of tzatziki – it’s wonderful just how versatile this dish is!
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