Monday, March 12, 2012
Greek-Style Chicken Wraps of Awesomeness, with Homemade Olga Bread and Tzatziki Sauce
Yesterday, in honor of my birthday and the uncharacteristically warm and beautiful weather, my husband and I made these Greek-inspired chicken wraps. Everything was made from scratch, from the yeasty-sweet flatbread, to the tangy yogurt and cucumber sauce, to the juicy grilled chicken skewers. They. were. so. good. If you never cook another thing from this blog, you must give these a try.
Granted, it took us about three hours, start to finish (if partly due to poor planning on my part), and the ingredient list is half a mile long. I can suggest a few shortcuts: 1. Use store-bought flatbread or pita bread. 2. Use sliced Brakebush chicken and drizzle on the marinade. 3. Buy a wrap from King Gyro's.
Seriously, guys. This isn't Quick Cooking. If you want food this good, sometimes you really have to spend a little extra time to make it. Trust me--it's time well spent. Just wait for a leisurely, warm weekend, fire up the grill, and do a little planning ahead so you don't waste an extra hour (like me). Not that I minded. I got to spend half my birthday eating and cooking with my husband, and it was pretty great.
Some tips before you begin:
-If possible, make the tzatziki sauce a day ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.
-It's also a good idea to begin marinating the chicken a day ahead, or at least in the morning.
-If you do end up making everything at once, start with the chicken, then make the bread. While the bread rises and chicken marinates, you can make the sauce, chop vegetables, and start the grill. With two people, the whole process should take about two hours.
Greek-Style Chicken Wraps (based on the recipe here)
Time: 50 minutes, plus 1-24 hours for marinading
3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (NOT straight balsamic vinegar)
3 T. lemon juice (from 1 1/2 lemons)
1 T. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup seeded, shredded cucumber
1 tsp. coarse or kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 T. lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
1/2 T. rice vinegar (OR white vinegar)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 tsp. dill weed (OR 1 T. chopped fresh dill)
1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning (I make my own from the recipe here)
1 small head romaine lettuce, thinly chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
In a small bowl, combine first four marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade; toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers (if using) in water. Prepare Olga bread (recipe below). Chop lettuce, red onion, and tomato. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat (you can also broil the chicken, if you must, but it won't be nearly as tasty).
Prepare tzatsiki sauce (best if made the day ahead): Toss cucumber with coarse salt, and allow it to sit at least 5 minutes (the salt releases excess moisture). In a medium bowl, combine remaining sauce ingredients. Squeeze cucumber to remove excess water; stir drained cucumber into sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove chicken from marinade and place evenly on skewers. Discard remaining marinade. Grill chicken until juices run clear (my husband did this part, so I don't know how long it takes). Remove from heat and wrap in foil to keep warm.
Serve chicken, tzatsiki sauce, and toppings wrapped in warm Olga bread, pita bread, or flatbread.
Homemade Olga Bread (recipe from my parents)
This is the easiest yeast bread I've ever made. Once you get the hang of it, the rolling and pan frying goes quickly. It helps to have two people--one to roll the dough while the other cooks it--but the dough can also be rolled all at once (stack lightly floured dough rounds on a plate, then stack them back on another plate as they're cooked). The result: a yeasty, slightly sweet flatbread that beats anything you could ever buy at Meijer. It tastes best fresh out of the pan, but I suppose it could be frozen (although I've never actually tried doing so). Yum.
Yield: 16 flatbreads
Time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour for rising
1 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups flour (divided)
Scald milk in a small saucepan by heating it over medium-low, stirring with a whisk, until it reaches 120 F (milk will just barely begin to cook to the bottom of the pan). Reduce heat to low. Add honey and butter; whisk until melted. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes to allow yeast to activate (mixture will become bubbly). Pour milk mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and beat well. Add yeast mixture and egg; beat well again. Gradually add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour until sticky dough forms (if using a hand mixer, you may need to finish out with a mixing spoon). Do not add more flour!
Knead for two minutes (I do this right in the bowl). Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel; place in a warm place and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 16 pieces. (Roll the dough into a ball, cut in quarters with a sharp knife, roll quarters into balls, then quarter again.) Roll each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball to 1/8 inch thick (about 7 inches in diameter).
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. (I use a regular metal skillet, not a nonstick or cast iron one.) When skillet is very hot, begin cooking bread (do not add any oil or butter--cook on the dry pan). Cook each piece for 15 seconds on the first side, then flip with a thin, wide spatula and cook 10 seconds on the second side (yes, you do have to stand there and count). Serve warm.