When I first tried Souvla in San Francisco a couple of years back, I felt like Athena, in all her wisdom, had ushered me directly to this mythical little space in the heart of Hayes Valley. I am a Greek food freak, and can’t get enough of olive oil infused, lemon, feta-topped anything and everything. Nobody does zesty fresh like the Greeks. I mean, they did invent it (and everything else) after all.
I read a NY Times article, and learned that the brilliant minds behind Souvla came up with a genius and equally delicious hack to flavor up their famous rotisserie chicken while slimming down on waste. Instead of pouring all that funky umami flavored feta juice down the drain, they use it to brine their chicken. It creates a moisture and flavor sealing system that sends their chicken flying off of the shelves. I always buy my feta fresh in brine as well, and wasting the flavor of the brine has always felt like a shame. After reading about their genius method, I decided to try to create my own version of Souvla chicken and came up with a zesty summer skewer in this recipe for Feta Brined Chicken Skewers with Herby Feta Sauce.
The chicken soaks up the brine for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to fully infuse the salty, funky flavor and keep the chicken juicy when grilling. I skewer the chicken with red onion, add plenty of garlic and freshly ground black pepper to the brine, then hit it with some lemon juice just before grilling. My recipe for Feta Brined Chicken Skewers with Herby Feta Sauce is simple to prepare with only a few ingredients, but it packs so much Greek flavor that you might just think you’ve teleported to some salty sun soaked isle on the Mediterranean Sea.
This recipe for Feta Brined Chicken Skewers with Herby Feta Sauce has quickly climbed the summer charts to my #1 go-to summer BBQ staple. No joke, my mouth is watering and I may or may not have just drooled on my keyboard editing these photos. The skewers are fresh, zesty, and full of Greek goodness. I like to serve these Feta Brined Chicken Skewers over a simple summer salad or wrapped together in pita or flatbread, slathered with a hefty hit of Herby Feta Sauce and topped with fresh cucumber slices, juicy tomatoes, leafy greens and a fresh squeeze of tart lemon juice.
For another take on this recipe, be sure to check out my friend Laney’s twist over at Life Is But A Dish. I told her all about Feta Brined Chicken Skewers and how life changing they have been for me this summer. She hopped on the brine train and came up with a version of Feta Brined Chicken Kabobs using slightly different herbs and lime juice. Mmmm. I can’t wait to try her version. Opa!
These feta brined Chicken Skewers soak up all of the umami feta flavors and stay extra juicy when grilled. Then they get an extra dose of Mediterranean flavor when basted in a zesty fresh, Herby Feta Sauce made with creamy feta, bright lemon, earthy garlic, grassy olive oil, and fresh picked parsley and dill.
- 1 cup feta cheese loosely crumbled
- 1 whole lemon freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup parsley freshly chopped
- 2 tbsp dill freshly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teas freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 1 10 oz container of Feta cheese in brine
- 1 whole red onion
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 teas freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole lemon
Prepare the Herby Feta Sauce while your chicken is marinating.
Combine garlic, lemon juice and olive oil together in a food processor. Pulse together until the garlic is sufficiently crushed. Add the feta cheese, herbs and black pepper, pulse until smooth. Cover and store in the fridge until you grill chicken.
Slice onion into 1" chunks. Cut the chicken breast into 1" - 1 1/2" pieces.
Add chicken chunks, half of the onion slices and crushed garlic cloves to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle liberally with fresh cracked black pepper. Then pour the feta brine over top. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Skewer the chicken pieces and the remaining fresh onion chunks together onto skewers, divided evenly, careful not to pack the skewers too tightly. Discard the marinade.
*Be sure to soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before grilling so they don't burn.
Heat the grill to medium high heat.
Gently brush the skewers with olive oil, then spritz with fresh lemon.
Grill the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes total. During the last couple of minutes of grilling, baste the chicken skewers with 1/3 of the Herby Feta Sauce. The cheese will start to melt and caramelize a bit on the chicken.
Remove the skewers from the grill, slather them with the sauce once again and spritz with fresh lemon.
Serve right away.
The chicken skewers only call for about 1/3 of the Herby Feta Sauce, so be sure to reserve the remaining sauce for smearing on pita wraps or topping rice or salad. I also love to use the sauce as a dip for fresh veggies. The possibilities are endless and delicious.