April 29, 2015

In the Austin culinary arts scene, there are a few great Greek restaurants, like Arpeggio Grill and the Santorini Cafe. You may, however, want to try to make your own Grecian delicacies at home for yourself or friends and family. Check out these recipes for amazing Greek dishes:

517928083Chicken kebabs
The word “kebab” is Turkish for “meats roasted on a skewer.” Greeks learned this technique from their nearby neighbors and added their famous tzatziki sauce into the mix. Most kebabs are marinated for several hours before cooking to allow for bountiful flavors and keep the meat from drying out. Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef has a seriously amazing recipe for chicken kebabs. Segal uses chicken thighs and red onion for the kebabs and yogurt, crushed red pepper, cumin, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon zest for the marinade. Simply mix up the marinade and assemble the kebabs. Cover the kebobs with the marinade and let them sit for 8 hours.Then, get your grill ready. Cook the kebabs until golden brown (about 15 minutes) and devour. These go great with rice.

Greek rice is far from the boring white stuff that comes out of your rice cooker. This intricately-flavored dish is quite easy to make and much more interesting than simple rice with salt and pepper. In a mere 15 minutes, you can make four servings of spanakorizo, or spinach rice, which is commonly eaten in Greece. A Family Feast’s recipe includes seasonings like dill, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and lemon juice, all added to a mix of rice, onion, olive oil and spinach. The finished product should be a yellow-green rice that looks marvelous when topped with a few curls of lemon rind. 

Greeks love their dessert, but not too sweet. Baklava, a sort of honey pastry lasagna, is commonly eaten after a delicious meal. This tasty treat takes some time to create, as it has intricate layers, but it super good when done right. Natasha’s Kitchen has a recipe for baklava that is simple and will pass the taste test of any Greek individual. The ingredients are few, with phyllo dough as the main ingredient and added layers of walnuts and cinnamon sugar. The whole thing is drizzled with honey and unsalted butter, which lends the dessert its golden brown, flaky outside. You can cut this dish into simple squares or slice diagonally, leaving beautiful diamond patterns. A food processor is necessary to pulse the walnut mix into the right crumbly consistency, and you may need to cut the phyllo dough to fit the size of your pan. After all the layering, pop the pan in the oven and you’ll soon have homemade baklava to enjoy.

486024335Chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce
Le Creme dela Crumb has a 20-minute recipe for chicken gyros that you can make on any night of the week. These super fast, totally delicious sandwiches are healthy and nearly everyone enjoys them. You’ll need a food processor to mix all the sauce ingredients (cucumber, yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice and spices to taste). Use Mediterranean seasoning for the chicken and cook it in the oven or on a pan. Then, slice it into strips. Break out the pita bread and add the chicken along with your preferred vegetables. We like red pepper, red onion and lettuce, sticking with the Greek theme. Add a little freshly-made tzatziki and fold the pita closed. You’ll want to do so right before you eat or the gyro will fall apart and become soggy. They make great leftovers, but only when the sauce, pita bread, veggies and chicken are kept separately. These are also a great lunch and pack nicely when on-the-go.