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.
Chargrilled Lamb Flatbreads
For the flatbreads
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175 g natural yoghurt
For the toppings
- 2 lamb leg steaks (approx 180g each)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 large tomato sliced
- 2 handfuls mixed spinach salad
- 75 g feta crumbled
- chill sauce (optional)
For the flatbreads
- Add all the flatbread ingredients into a mixing bowl and bring together, either with a dough hook on a mixer or with a spoon.
- Knead the dough together with your hands, but not as long as you would for bread – it just needs to come together. It’s a pretty sticky mixture!
- Leave to rest for half an hour or so if you have time, or use immediately.
- When you’re ready to cook your flatbreads, split the mixture into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on how large you want them to be. Roll the dough out until it’s around 2-3mm thick.
- Place into a hot grill pan, and cook for around 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly charred and puffed out.
For the toppings
- Preheat a large grill/griddle pan on a high heat for 5 minutes.
- Grind the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar, then mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb leg steaks.
- Place the lamb leg steaks onto one end of the large griddle pan and the sliced onions on the other. Cook the lamb for around 4 minutes on each side for meat that’s just blushing in the middle. Make sure to move the onion slices around too.
- Remove the steaks and cut into slices.
- Top the flatbreads with the sliced tomatoes, onions, mixed spinach salad leaves, lamb and feta, then splash with chilli sauce if you like. Serve immediately rolled like a wrap.
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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