My family likes pork souvlaki. It makes for a great meal, as it is so flavourful. Until about a year ago, I bought the already prepared souvlaki in packages at the grocery store. Last year I realized I could probably make it myself and so I searched for recipes.
Making my own marinade for souvlaki is really easy. In general, marinades are easy. I like making my own, because that way I know what goes in it. I find the quality of what I make myself is better than what I can buy already prepared. And the cost is less to make my own too.
As I have spent more time cooking in the past few years, I have learnt that it isn’t necessary to follow recipes exactly, and that I can improvise, based on our likes/dislikes and on what I happen to have on hand. Yesterday was an improvising day.
I prefer to use fresh herbs whenever I can, because I find they have so much more flavour. And just the act of chopping fresh herbs makes the house smell great.
Yesterday I decided to grill some pork souvlaki for dinner.
When you think of souvlaki, you probably think of oregano and garlic. Garlic, no problem, as you can tell from yesterday’s post about garlic. But the fresh herbs available to me at the moment are what I have growing in the garden: rosemary, sage, thyme, dill and chives. No oregano. However, I tend to think that the “Mediterranean herbs” as I call them (oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage) are pretty interchangeable. The flavours of those herbs all work well together, and are found in many Greek and Italian dishes. So I decided to work with what I had on hand, and to use just a bit of dried oregano too.
The souvlaki was delicious. The fresh herbs and fresh garlic really made the meat flavourful. It was grilled just to doneness, not letting it overcook and get dry. I served the pork with fresh local corn on the cob and a green salad that had pumpkin seeds and orange segments in it (I had used the zest of the orange to make some Orange Blueberry muffins and wanted to put the orange to good use). The meal was a definite success. The meat was tender and flavourful. The corn tender and sweet and the orange added a nice slightly sweet and juicy touch to the salad.
So here is today’s pork souvlaki recipe, as I made it, with what was on hand. I tasted the marinade as I was making it, which I think is always the trick to getting it right. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I used centre loin pork chops, because that is what I had on hand, but in future, I would use pork tenderloin, which would make it even more tender and juicy.
Grilled Pork Souvlaki Recipe (makes 5 to 6 skewers)
- 2 pounds pork centre loin chops 9or pork tenderloin), trimmed of fat and cut into 1 ½” cubes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons (about 2 extra large cloves) fresh garlic, minced
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of black pepper
- ¼ cup (60 mL) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fig flavoured balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar works too)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add pork pieces and make sure they are coated in the marinade. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Turn the pork pieces over at least once while marinating.
Take pork out of fridge about 30 minutes before cooking time, to let meat get to room temperature before grilling.
Thread pork cubes onto skewers, 4 or 5 pieces per skewer. I use metal skewers for the bbq, that way I never have to worry about remembering to soak wooden skewers in water ahead of time.
Spread the herb and garlic pieces that are still in the marinade bowl onto the meat, coating it.
Oil the grill with olive oil or a cooking spray before starting grill. Pre-heat grill.
Grill meat on low heat, 8 to 9 minutes, turning skewers after about 3 minutes. Let meat rest about 2 to 3 minutes after removing from grill.