Day Seven: Pork Souvlaki

5 Nov

I have really wanted some souvlaki lately. I’ve never made it, just eaten it, and it is so good. Searching around for recipes today was a bit annoying because I didn’t want to have to grill, and most souvlaki dishes start with skewered grilled meat. I find that one of the reasons I love pork shoulder so much is the flavor it gets from cooking in its own juices and fat, and grilling would essentially eliminate that, in my opinion. Normally, I’m all over the grill, but not today.

I was very pleased when I came across a simple souvlaki recipe from Food & Wine because it met three criteria I had established today: 1) most importantly, it was not grilled; 2) it uses a cast iron skillet, which I just love to use; and 3) I could make tzatziki with the Greek yogurt we’ve got in the fridge. I didn’t use their tzatziki recipe exactly, although I’m sure it is delicious (I prefer mine with some lemon and a bit more mint).  But the actual pork part is from their recipe, just cut in half for 2 servings, and some alteration to the cooking time. I found the meat needed more cooking time to get a good crust on the outside, and then reducing the heat and covering let it simmer a bit in the juices.

Try to make the sauce ahead of time so that the flavors really develop. The recipe below makes more than you’ll need for the souvlaki – it is really good as a dip with veggies, crackers or chips. Dill is a great substitute for the mint if you either don’t have some or don’t want mint. Also, if you’re not using pitas (like me), it is equally good with the sauce on the side for dipping.

 

Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki

(adapted from Food & Wine)

  • 3/4 lb pork shoulder, cut into 3″ by 1/2″ strips
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges through the root end
  • 1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed into a paste
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • warmed pitas, for serving

Place a sieve or colander over a bowl. Put the cucumber slices in the colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes.

Remove the cucumber from the sieve and squeeze to get more water out. Mix with the mint, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until chopped up pretty good.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Toss the pork with the onion, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Heat a cast iron pan until very hot. Add the pork and onion, along with the marinade. Cook on high, two or three times, until charred about – about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cover; cook for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with tzatziki and pitas (if using).

 

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