Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Souvlaki - Greek Kabobs

Part 2 of our Greek/Med dinner I started posting last week.

From Wikipedia:
Souvlaki or souvlakia is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate ready for insertion, often with fried potatoes or pilaf. The meat is traditionally pork in Greece and Cyprus, or in modern times increasingly chicken. In other countries and for tourists, souvlaki may be made with other meats such as beef, lamb and sometimes fish (especially swordfish).
The terminology of souvlaki and its variants is confusing and inconsistent. Depending on the context, the term 'souvlaki' by itself may refer to any of the variants. In some regions and some restaurants, the name shish kebab is used to denote a particular variant of souvlaki (e.g. with vegetables on the skewer), but it is essentially a synonym.
The word souvlaki is a diminuative of souvla (skewer), itself ultimately derived from the Latin subula (awl).

To make our souvlaki I used a pork tenderloin, parsley, mint, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. You'll also need some form of skewers and an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill.

The recipe called for marinating in a bowl for 2 hours to overnight, I like using Alton Brown's method of a plastic baggie holding the marinade then set into a bowl just in case, the baggie is thrown away afterward and hopefully I have one less bowl to wash.

Instead of really measuring, I pulled a handful of parsley and gave it a rough chop, I stacked about 8 mint leaves and chopped them a little, and a good heavy sprinkling of dried oregano (I couldn't find fresh in the grocey) all went into the gallon sized baggie.

Then a quartered onion and a couple smashed and peeled garlic cloves joined the herbs.

I poured in about a half cup of olive oil and roughly a 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar.

This is the pork tenderloin I bought, I only used one of the pieces, it comes sliced in about half, so close to one pound of meat to serve 3 adults and 2 kidlets.

Cubed Pork Tenderloin

I cut the tenderloin into slices more than 1 inch cubes, something like a 2 bite size.

Toss the meat into the baggie with a healthy pinch of salt and a 1/2 tsp or so of fresh pepper and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or let go overnight. I did all this part the morning of the day we were going to eat.

These are the skewers I have, I don't like using the wooden skewers because you have to soak them to keep them from catching on fire. I really do like those spiral skewers but have yet to find someplace that doesn't charge $20 for 4 skewers. These are metal and $2 at your nearest Wallyworld, mine get used mostly for roasting marshmallows on the gas cooktop but whatever.

Skwered marinated pork tenderloin

I started the box o' pilaf we were having with this dinner and had the pita and tzatziki made so now it was time to cook the pork. I pulled the marinated meat out of the fridge and skewered it, I used the large pieces of onion to help keep the meat on the skewer and the rest went into the squash (recipe next week). The grill was heated to medium, about 350 degrees.

The skewers were placed across the and cooked for 5-6 minutes per side, tongs came in very handy here. I let one set cook for a couple minutes longer per side, Mom has an abject fear of moist pork.

pork souvlaki

After they were cooked I put the pita on the grill to reheat it. The pork came out very tasty with a slight flavor of the herbs and being tenderloin was very tender.

Next week I'll post the final part of this dinner, the squash side dish and the tzatziki sauce that's really good for just about anything.

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, smashed with a can and peeled
1 medium onion, quartered
1 tbsp oregano, fresh or dried
2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients and marinate 2 hours to overnight. Skewer the meat (remember to soak wooden skewers) and grill 5-6 minutes per side.

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