Wednesday, January 26, 2011

fireplace meat

Fireplace meat is basically souvlaki, meat on a stick.
hummina hummina

I wish I could say that this is the original, straight-from-Greece recipe, but it's not. In fact, I have no idea if they marinated their pork or even had a 'recipe' to speak of. We've asked many times and aside from 'put it on a rotisserie in a fireplace', we really don't know what happened to that meat before it started cooking. I only know that it was the most delicious and by far one of the best meals I've had in Greece. And one thing is for certain, after having fireplace meat, there's no way I was going to wait until we took another trip to Greece to have it again. So I've had to base this recipe on how I best remember it.

This meal always translates into a wrap for Idle Husband. A smear of tzatziki, a spoonful of greek salad, bits of torn fireplace meat, and ample chunks of feta, all wrapped up in a warm pita. If I'm craving a classic souvlaki wrap, I'll only supply feta and tzatziki, slices of tomato and purple onion, and french fries for wrapping up inside the pita (yes, french fries. You can't order anything in Greece without french fries tucked in). But generally, I like to eat everything a bit at a time using the pita as a scoop for tzatziki and greek salad or making stacks of tomato, cucumber, and meat on my fork. There's really no wrong way to eat it.

Fireplace Meat or Pork Souvlaki
serves 2

1 pound (or a tad more) boneless pork, cubed (if there is any fat on it, don't remove it)*
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry dill
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the cubed pork into a medium sized bowl and add the salt, dill, oregano, garlic powder, lemon juice, and olive oil and stir until the pork is evenly coated. Cover and allow it to marinate for at least two hours in the fridge (longer is better, but not necessary).

Skewer the marinated meat on a rotisserie rod or bamboo skewers.** Make sure to pack them on really tightly with no spaces between the meat. If you're using skewers, place them on a foil lined baking sheet, and pop into a 350 degree oven (or attach the rottisserie rod into the toaster oven making sure there's a foil lined baking sheet under it to catch drips), and cook until the meat is brown and crispy. It's important for the meat to be a little crispy on the edges. Those darkened bits are the delicious bits. Mine usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

De-skewer the meat and serve with tzatziki (you can buy it from Superstore or Hellas Foods but homemade is 100% better than either of those), greek salad (the traditional one is pretty straight forward and classic, but you could also try the green one), feta, and warm flatbread (this bread is usually called pitas, though pitas with pockets are not traditional. This is now my favourite flatbread recipe minus the basil).

*If you don't have boneless pork, this also makes chicken absolutely delicious. You don't have to use chunks of chicken breast (although those would be superb), I've marinated whole chicken parts with this recipe (4 legs/thighs, 4 wings), cooked without rotating/flipping, and that chicken dinner has turned out to be one of our most memorable chicken meals.

**I have a rotisserie toaster oven now, so I skewer my pork on the metal rod and let the rotisserie do all the turning. But if you don't have a rotisserie, don't fret. I used to skewer the meat on simple bamboo sticks (you can find them anywhere and they're very cheap for a bag of a billion skewers) and then rotate them about halfway through cooking.

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