Souvlaki with Aubergine & Mint

Souvlaki with Aubergine & Mint

More BBQ'd meat then! I make no apologies though as it'll be Autumn before we know it and my enthusiasm for grilling may diminish (who am I trying to kid). In all seriousness though with the longest day fast approaching we may as well take advantage when the sun is out and the days are long. So firstly what is Souvlaki? It's basically a very simple traditional Greek kebab made with pork and herbs and served on a skewer. Simple, flavourful no fuss food! I find my cooking tastes tend to go in waves in that I'll be into watching  and reading about a specific cuisine. I'll make a few dishes, get bored then move onto a different cuisine or style of cooking. Right now that particular taste is Greek following on from my butterflied leg of lamb last week. Seasonality also plays a part in that my image of Greek food is fresh, colourful, light and overall summery, perfect for the great weather here in Northern Ireland!. It's the type of food you want to be eating with a cold glass of white wine or a beer in the sun.

 

SWANKINGREDIENTS

Serves 4

  • Pork 800g
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Dried thyme 2 teaspoons
  • Fresh mint 6-7 leaves
  • 2 lemons
  • Honey 2 teaspoons
  • Cider Vinegar 2 tablespoons
  • Fennel seeds (not pictured) 1 teaspoon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5 tablespoons
  • Sea Salt 1 tablespoon
  • 1 Aubergine

For the tomato & onion salad

  • 1 Red Onion
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Birds eye Chilies 2
  • Sea salt 1 teaspoon
  • Cracked black pepper 1 teaspoon
  • Cider vinegar 3 tablespoons
  • For the tzatsiki
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Sea Salt 1 teaspoon
  • Squeeze of lemon

 

METHOD

For this dish I used diced pork shoulder, you could use pork fillet but it tends to be a leaner cut thus less flavoursome. I didn't have time to make it to the butcher but thankfully M&S didn't let me down. Start by cutting the pork into small cubes (if not already prepared) and place in a dish to marinade along with the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, mint, honey, vinegar, fennel seeds, oil and salt. The honey isn't a traditional ingredient but it encourages the pork to char and obviously provides a hint of sweetness. As always try and marinade overnight but don't worry if it's not possible.

To prepare the aubergine cut into 1 cm circles and season with salt and pepper. Remember to cut the aubergine just before it is placed on the grill to prevent it decolouring. Rub with a small amount of oil which will encourage them to crisp up. Do go easy on the oil though as they are highly absorbent and you could end up with a greasy sponge as an accompaniment. For the tzatsiki finely dice the cucumber, crush the garlic and place in a bowl with the yoghurt, lemon and salt.

Ensure your BBQ is as hot as possible and place the pork and aubergine on the grill.

My pork came in small cubes so they only took 2 minutes per side. The aubergine took the same length of time as you want them to cook hot and fast. After the four minutes remove the pork and squeeze on some fresh lemon and rest for 3 minutes while garnishing the aubergines with tzatsiki and fresh mint.

I served with the obligatory tomato and onion salad and basmati rice. It also goes excellent with skinny fries and/or flatbread!

Enjoy,

Paul

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