Lamb Souvlaki with Flatbreads, Tzatziki, Tomatoes and Pickles
Can there be anything more exquisite than skewered cubes of lamb marinated with olive oil, lemon juice and Greek oregano and cooked over charcoal? I know people are a bit dismissive of Greek food, but when it’s done right, nothing is better. I love opening out a freshly baked warm flatbread, using it as a glove to hold the chargrilled lamb while I pull the skewer out, and then making a sandwich with the tzatziki, tomatoes and pickles. A souvlaki is not dissimilar to a Turkish shish kebab.
|2kg||boned shoulder of lamb|
|2 tbsp||chopped fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried, Greek if possible|
|Juice 1 large lemon|
|150ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|For the flatbread:|
|2 tsp||easy-blend yeast|
|2 tbsp||extra virgin olive oil|
|1 quantity||Tzatziki (see ingredients and method below)|
|250g||ripe tomatoes, sliced|
|2||pickled cucumbers or large gherkins, thinly sliced lengthways|
|Mild green pickled chillies, sliced (optional)|
|A little paprika for sprinkling|
|For the tzatziki:|
|500g||natural Greek ewe's milk yoghurt (Total is best)|
|75g||spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped|
|2 tbsp||chopped fresh dill or mint|
|2 tbsp||extra virgin olive oil|
|1 tsp||white wine vinegar|
|Salt and freshly ground pepper|
You will need a barbecue.
First, make the tzatziki. Peel the skin of the cucumber away in strips - you want some but not all of it. Then coarsely grate the cucumber, pile it into the centre of a clean tea towel and squeeze out most of the excess liquid. Put the garlic cloves onto a chopping board, sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and crush into a smooth paste with the flat blade of a large knife. Tip the yoghurt into a bowl and stir in the cucumber, garlic, spring onions, dill or mint, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until needed.
Cut the lamb into strips and cubes, trimming away any excess fat. Put the meat into a bowl with the oregano, lemon juice, olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper and leave to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
For the flatbreads, sift the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add 250ml warm water and olive oil and mix together to make a soft dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Put back into the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
Punch back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead once more until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces and roll each one into a ball. Cover and leave to rise for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/Gas Mark 9. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll it out flat until it is about 22cm across. Place it on a greased baking sheet, spray lightly with a little water and bake for 2-3 minutes. Keep warm in a tea towel. Repeat for the rest of the breads.
Light your barbecue. Thread about 5 pieces of meat, folding the thinner strips in half, on to sixteen 25-cm-long metal skewers and cook, in batches if necessary, for 6 minutes, turning them 2-3 times during cooking, until they are nicely browned on the outside and cooked through but still moist and juicy in the centre. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm while you cook the remainder.
Serve with the flatbreads, tzatziki, ripe tomatoes, pickled cucumbers or gherkins, pickled chillies and paprika.