Looking for the proper recipe… – A la recherche de la vraie recette…

Je n’arriverai jamais à recréer les petits Souvlaki que les Grecques font si bien, mais mes petites brochettes d’agneau tiennent la route…

  1. Coupez un morceau d’épaule d’agneau en petits cubes et faites mariner pendant 24 heures dans un mélange d’huile d’olive, citron, origan, thym frais, paprika, sel et poivre.
  2. Faites griller très fort (l’extérieur doit être bien grillé et le centre encore rosé (sauf si vous utilisez du porc dans l’échine)
  3. Servez chaud avec une salade grecque sur le coté et des quartiers de citron.IMG_6291 _Snapseed

I’ve never been able to recreate the small Greek Souvlaki I loved so much as a child, but my little lamb/pork skewers are not too bad …

  1. Cut a piece of lamb or pork (shoulder) into small pieces and marinate for 24 hours in a mixture of olive oil (real olive oil!!), fresh lemon juice, oregano, fresh thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. Broil very hard and fast (the outside should be well done (like a NY steak) and the center still pink (unless you use pork loin of course)
  3. Serve right away with a Greek salad on the side and lemon wedges.

STEVE! What is your best recipe for traditional Souvlaki??? I know they should be grilled on an open fire for one… What else??IMG_6395

33 Comments Add yours

  1. caseylee18 says:

    looks so good! I’m so going to make this soon!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! You should! Make sure you use fresh herbs. It’s much better that way:)

  2. caseylee18 says:

    looks so good! I am so going to make this soon!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      They are delicious. The most important thing is to get fresher than fresh herbs and to grill it properly. The oven is just a winter option. It’s much better on a proper grill:)

  3. Hey!

    I’m a Greek girl born and raised up in Athens and the last 2,5 years I have been living permanently in Sweden. Believe it or not, along with the Sun and my beloved ones what I miss most from my country is real souvlaki!!! 😛

    A few restaurants have included some bad imitations in their menus and I’ll have to agree with Steve regarding souvlaki being typical street food and charcoal making a huuuuuge difference during the preparation of this emblematic dish. Then you always have to keep in mind that the quality of the ingredients are the ones which contribute to its delicious taste. The aromas and taste of extra virgin oil, wild thyme and fresh Mediterranean oregano cannot be compared to any products I may find abroad! (it’s true)

    I hope I helped in your search of the proper recipe… 🙂
    Take care.
    Denise (Greek name: Dionysia)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much for this great comment. It really helps a lot!!!

      1. The pleasure is mine! 😉

  4. Steve says:

    I just spent 3 months working with veterinarians specialized in pork production. We talked at length about the issue of how pork should be cooked. They shook their heads in frustration at how deeply and profoundly the concept of pork contamination has transcended generations of people from biblical times. The roots of the kosher proscription against pork consumption lies in this very real (at that time) concern about trichinosis and other parasitic infections.

    It continues to be promoted even in the most recent modern times. When I did my undergrad work in science, we learned about all the nasties that can inhabit pork.

    It turns out that pork is in fact much safer than beef. If you have followed the news in recent years, you will have remarked that beef continues to be the most dangerous meat from a contamination perspective, with E-coli in particular. There apparently hasn’t been a case of trichinosis in North America in probably 50 years.

    The result of this deeply entrenched “collective unconscious” paranoia about pork is that we tend to overcook this meat and it usually becomes very dry, especially if we use leaner cuts. So rest easy my friends, according to some of the most knowledgeable animal health experts, pink pork is no more a threat than pink beef (probably less). I do love a pink tenderloin BTW.

  5. grumpytyke says:

    Why not cook with the centre pink if loin? I think shoulder would be better anyway (and cheaper) but wouldn’t it be even more important not to overcook loin. Maybe I’ve misunderstood.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I always use the shoulder here. As for pink pork loin, I must say it makes me uncomfortable… The shoulder is my favorite part anyway:)

  6. eveleduc says:

    Pour tous les fins gourmands, je crois que nous sommes condamnés à vivre une quête perpétuelle pour tenter de recréer des expériences gustatives. Cependant, c’est un réel plaisir de s’investir dans ces recherches qui nous amènent à faire de nouvelles découvertes.
    J’adore l’idée de suspendre ainsi les brochettes pour la cuisson au four ! I’m totally stealing this trick! Merci !

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂 🙂

  7. J’adore l’idée de suspendre ainsi les brochettes pour la cuisson au four! I’m totally stealing this trick! Merci!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad I could help. C’est vrai qu’elles sont si petites… c’est aussi un bon moyen de bien les rapprocher du grill:)

  8. Steve says:

    @stephane: Maybe after our stay in June we might work out a deal 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:


  9. Emma says:

    What a great site. And I just wrote about how I’d like to move to France for their attitude about health care for all. Now I have an additional reason – food. This looks so good, and I love the comments from Steve.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Steve always has great comments! I hope you move to France someday. Health care is not only free, it is really really good. Schools and colleges are free too if you have kids… 🙂

  10. Steve says:

    I once took my 16 year-old son and his 14 year-old cousin from Greece on a hiking trip up Mount Mansfield in Vermont. At the bottom, I offered them a snack of some peanuts I had saved from a recent Air Canada flight. They both declined with exclamations of “Yuck”, “Crappy airline peanuts”, etc. My wife and I caught up with them at the top of the mountain after a 2 hour hike. They were both standing by a rock greedily eating the peanuts. “Amazing peanuts, Dad”, “The best ever”, greeted me as we approached. Everything in life is a “gestalt”, the foreground of our experience is inseparable from the background of the context in which it is experienced.

    I suspect you are right about those souvlakis.

    1. My French Heaven says:


  11. juliabarrett says:

    We make chicken souvlaki with olive oil, pressed garlic, fresh oregano, salt and pepper, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. One of our summer favorites.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      That sounds great! I don’t know if I’ll ever find the recipe from my childhood…

  12. Steve says:

    Keep in mind this isn’t a DOC like Cassoulet or Ragu Bolognese; it’s street food and will have a lot of “elasticity” in what’s acceptable. But certainly, the charcoal will be a key feature. That’s why in Greece, people go out to eat “grill” since they don’t typically have BBQ’s at home (except at their country ho,mes in the Summer). So, souvlaki would not be a home-cooked item for anyone in my family. Things like Moussaka, Pastitio, and other “cooked” dishes would be reserved for home consumption.

    Hope this all helps.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I think the “eating it in the street” part is what gave them such a great taste and formed such a great memory for me… Also, I think that even if you use the exact same recipes, food tastes different depending on where you eat it. Like onion soup will taste better in a chalet in Switzerland than on the beach in Miami…:)

  13. Steve says:

    Sounds pretty “authentic” to me except for the paprika (but I do love smoked paprika!). Broiling in an oven is never satisfactory as these should always be done on charcoal or at the very least a gas BBQ. The key is to continue to baste them with the marinade as they grill. I use lamb or pork and both are very satisfactory, although they shouldn’t be too lean cuts. The street vendors will certainly be using much cheaper cuts that we would at home.

    Try them real Greek style in a hot pita bread with French fries in the bread!!!! Sounds awful, I know, but it’s very popular.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Mr. Onasis!

  14. Tasty recipe and plated photo. Are those diced cucumbers as the bed? Mmmm.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes they are. It’s even better with the complete Greek salad!

  15. Conor Bofin says:

    Lovely looking indeed. This is a proper recipe for sure.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Conor! I think they might taste more like the greek ones I remember if I use pork instead of lamb…

  16. This looks absolutely devine. You are a master photographer!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Grace! I found your post on juice very interesting. I need to get a juicer:)

      1. You should!! Wonderful stuff!!

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