This simple, grilled chicken dish is perfect for summer. Each of the components are simple by themselves, so it’s important to use the best ingredients available. Whether you make the pitas or buy them, make sure you heat them up before serving. The garlicky, refreshing Tzatziki sauce is the perfect addition to refresh the basic grilled chicken we will tire of soon. Any grilled piece of meat will do nicely in this dish, so keep that extra sauce for another night. Careful with the raw garlic, it can get spicy quickly. Better to start with a little and build from there.
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients
- 3/4 English cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 lb. chicken, breasts or thighs
- Warm pita bread, sliced vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, Greek olives, and feta (optional)
- In a glass dish, prepare the chicken marinade. Whisk all the ingredients together, then add the chicken. I like to butterfly the chicken breasts so that they are flat and cook evenly, but it’s not necessary. You can marinate the chicken all day in the refrigerator, overnight, or whatever time you have.
- Make the sauce. In a food processor, grate the cucumber. Toss with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheese cloth or a double thickness napkin and squeeze dry. Set aside briefly.
- In one large mixing bowl, place the garlic with remaining 1/2 tsp salt, white vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix to combine.
- Add the grated cucumber to the large bowl with the garlic mixture. Stir in the yogurt and white pepper. Combine thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
- When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce to refresh and transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil, if you like.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat dry and discard the marinade. Season the chicken with additional salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken over high heat until the juices run clear, flipping each piece once. Avoid the temptation to play with the chicken while it’s cooking. When it’s ready to flip, it should release easily from the grill. Each side should take roughly 7 minutes, depending the on the thickness. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes, under a foil tent, until you slice or serve it.
- Serve the gyros with warm pitas, the Tzatziki sauce and some raw veggies to add crunch.
- To store the Tzatziki sauce, cover well and keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
- If you prefer a more garlicky sauce, you can use up to 6 clove, but be careful and start small cause it can get strong quickly.
- Make sure you get the water out of the cucumber to avoid a watered down sauce.
- This makes a lot of sauce. You can easily cut it in half.
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