A Barbecue inspired by Greek flavours – perfect for this long hot summer!
Almost every Tuesday we host our friends Wendy and Mitchell for dinner. This means great company for us, good food for them, and a chance for me to try out some new recipes to a very receptive and grateful audience. The first Tuesday night dinner was in 2014, and from memory was chicken breasts stuffed with feta and spinach with a lemon and white wine sauce. Mitch’s amazement at homemade sauce AND mashed potatoes and I knew that I had the right audience to try new things on, and who would happily eat my mistakes. This Tuesday was our first dinner for 2016, so I wanted to start with something a bit special and new that could be prepared and cooked in comfort given the day was 38°! I had trawled through Pinterest and found what I thought was a winner, but when I put all the spices together I didn’t really like the smell, so I used the photo as inspiration to create this Greek style Grilled Chicken. Marinated in lemon, garlic and herbs, the chicken is moist and juicy and has those lovely grill marks from being cooked on the barbie (no need to heat up the house). Scrumptious! Now I have to say I also spiced up the sauce. The Pinterest recipe was for Dill Yoghurt Sauce, which tasted, well, just like dill and yoghurt. Not awful, just not memorable either. So I tweaked it a bit. Well, a lot. But the result is a sauce that was fantastic with the chicken, was super with the salad, and I think will work well with any grilled meat.
So first the chicken. I used boneless chicken thigh fillets as they barbecue the best and don’t dry out. In a large ceramic bowl, put in olive oil, juice from 2 lemons (about 1/3 cup) and zest of 1 lemon, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano (2 teaspoons of dried if you have no fresh) 1 tablespoon of rosemary and salt and pepper. Mix it all together and then place chicken fillets in and turn to coat. Allow to marinate in fridge for 4-6 hours.
Meanwhile you can make the Herb Yoghurt Sauce. Place 1 cup of dill fronds, 1 garlic clove, 1 cup Greek yoghurt, an anchovy fillet, basil and mint and oil and lemon juice into the small bowl of the food processor and whiz until all combined.
How cool and refreshing does that look???? Now if I had of known that the Dill Yoghurt Sauce was going to be dull, I may not have spent the morning running about in the heatwave sourcing fresh dill. I think my Green Goddess Dressing would have worked with extra yoghurt added. Anyway, the sauce was sensational, and it shows that using what fresh herbs you have available/like best will probably work.
The dill was great I must say; worth the effort of finding, and probably will now prompt me to plant some in my garden as well. PLUS, Morag misheard “Dill Yoghurt Sauce” and thought I said “Dildo Sauce” – made me laugh! ( note to self – next time I visit Morag, look suspiciously at what she may be using to stir her sauces!)
The chicken was served with a Greek Salad of baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese and red onion soaked in white wine vinegar (brings out a lovely flavour in the onion and takes away the rawness. Use the vinegar in the dressing – turns a lovely shade of pink) I knew TM, Mitch and Mr L would be looking for the minimum of green and craving some carbs, but I was certain that the oven was NOT going on in this heat, so no potatoes. Pita bread! Made from scratch from a recipe from Half Baked Harvest, it was delicious and chewy and so so good! I followed the recipe to the letter and got these results:
Cannot begin to tell you how chuffed I was! This bread will be a staple in our house from now on – the dough balls will keep in the refrigerator for a week, and I can’t wait to experiment with some wholemeal or gluten-free flour options.
So there was our first Tuesday night dinner for 6 for 2016 – Grilled Greek Chicken, Herby Yoghurt Sauce, Greek Salad and homemade Pita Bread – yum! Mostly prepared ahead of time, all free of fuss and kept us mostly in the aircon (well poor Ted was sent to cook chicken outside for just a short time, but you can’t keep a good man away from his barbie) The only question – what’s for dinner next Tuesday???
- 12 boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tbs lemon zest
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbs fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 1 tbs rosemary leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Herby Yoghurt Sauce:
- 1 cup dill fronds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbs olive oil
- juice of half lemon
- 2 tbs mint
- 2 tbs basil
- 2 anchovy fillets
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large ceramic dish, combine oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, oregano and rosemary and salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then add chicken, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
- Heat barbecue to medium and cook chicken until golden on the outside and cooked through. Serve with Herby Yoghurt dressing, Greek Salad and garlic potatoes or pita bread.
- Yoghurt Sauce:
- Combine dill, garlic, basil, mint, yoghurt, lemon juice and anchovies in a food processor, and whiz until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.