Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Souvlaki and lemon potatoes with tzatziki

spent my semester abroad in Greece, and I still crave all things Greek. A lot of Greek food is fairly time consuming and best suited to long, meditative weekend days, but I have a couple of quick dishes in my repertoire. They all rely heavily on lemon juice, good olive oil (I buy mine in bulk from a Greek importer) and garlic. Lots of garlic. Disclaimer: Do not make the mistake of bringing leftovers to work for lunch unless you want to knock people out with the sheer strength of your breath. Obsessive teeth brushing and loads of gum will have no impact, I promise.

lemons, olive oil
The essentials - olive oil and fresh lemons

Souvlaki (grilled skewers) takes no time at all - you just make a simple mixture of lemon juice and olive oil, add salt, pepper and oregano. Cut up chunks of beef (or lamb, or chicken) and let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Take it out and put it on skewers and grill. Easy.

My tzatziki recipe is a little bastardized. You are supposed to add a generous amount of olive oil, but I've always preferred the thicker texture you get without it. All you need is a couple cloves of garlic, minced, and a cucumber, finely shredded and then pressed several times to remove as much liquid as possible. Mix in Greek yogurt (I always use Fage 2%), along with salt, pepper and dill. It's tart and thick and perfect.

Tzatziki - store bought versions are a very poor substitute

Lemon potatoes are delicious wrapped in flatbread with the meat or just dipped directly in the tzatziki. It works especially well with little red potatoes, but russet was what I had around.

Lemon potatoes and tzatziki

Chop 2 potatoes into largish pieces, toss in a bowl with the juice of two lemons and a couple tablespoons olive oil, plus minced garlic and dill. Cook in a large saucepan over medium high heat, covering the pan for the first 10 minutes or so, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove lid and continue to cook until the potatoes are done (and nicely browned on the outside).

The whole meal

Quick, simple, and addictive. Make sure you don't make too many potatoes, because you'll probably end up eating all of them at once.


  1. Oh dear... I shouldn't have read this so close to lunch time! I think I'm going to have to go get Greek food, even if that means I won't be able to open my mouth up for the rest of the day! Thanks to these tips, I feel like I could do these over the weekend!

  2. even though i'm not a huge fan of garlic, for the reasons you mentioned, i certainly make an exception when it comes to Greek food. this all looks delicious!

  3. YUMMY!!! I will have to try this recipe and the potatoes!! I love yogurt and garlic, and I have a feeling the Tzatziki will be so much tastier homemade than storebought.

  4. This looks so easy and delicious! I'm definitely going to try this soon.

  5. i am definitely making this meal next week! i heart greek food and am giddy at the thought of making my own tzatziki. i always ask for extra at daphne's so i can take it home and eat it with pita chips. mmmm

  6. oh no. ben hearts potatoes more than life itself. i have to make....

  7. love for you to cook for me... last weekend,
    the topic of garlic came up and the anti-oxidant benefits too so we are huge proponents of garlic.
    the photos make everything look wonderful!

  8. those potatoes are calling my name! it's only 9 in the morning here but i know i'm going to be dreaming about these all day long :) lovely recipe once again Rachel!

  9. Oh yummy. I'm starving. Bad time to be reading your blog :)

  10. I just love all things Greece, esp. the food. This looks like a perfectly delicious (and family-friendly, I might add) meal. I will put this on my list for sure.

  11. A girl after my own heart! You recipes sound wonderful. I like to shred the cuke and drain it a bit for the tzatziki, and then add a little bit of lemon. So delish.

  12. I might just make some tzatziki tomorrow...It's been like 2 weeks since i last had it in Athens...miss it though. Found you via jewels blog. glad i did

  13. I love how you serve the food. Looks like a restaurant-setting!

    When I have my own house, I would like to have the cookingskills you have :D

  14. I did a study abroad in Greece too! I am obsessed with all things Greek, and have been on an endless hunt for the perfect Greek potato, as I have yet to find any that do them justice! As a vegetarian in people's homes, the potatoes were often the main component of my meal - which I didn't mind at all! I'm so excited you posted this and cannot wait to try them out.


Trying captchas this time - better or worse than having to log in to comment? Let me know! Sorry for all the hoops but the spam has been terrible lately!