A Greek chicken souvlaki that is fun, fresh and familiar

Fire up the barbecue and bring those smoky holiday smells roaring back to life

This week’s recipe is another summer cracker that can be cooked on the barbecue to bring all of those smoky holiday smells. We ate skewers like this on the Greek island of Hydra, sitting outside, surrounded by orange red geraniums and a smattering of stray cats sleeping in the sun.

Chicken pieces are marinated in a traditional Greek way with lemon juice, oregano, mint and a dash of smoked paprika. It’s so delicious grilled outdoors in the sunshine. I have been cooking so much on the barbecue lately and it’s really great to have a few alternatives to the usual burgers and sausages.

These can be prepared well ahead of time and are very easy to cook once you have them threaded onto skewers. Serve with warm pitta breads, tzatziki and some crisp salad. Some paprika dusted chips are amazing with the chicken too, in a pitta bread or flatbread. Just make potato wedges or chips as you would usually do, but dust them with paprika midway through cooking. Adding the chips means the entire meal is stuffed into the pitta, a hand-held street food meal that’s tasty and easy to cook.

All during lockdown, I resisted doing live cookery videos on Instagram. But I've gradually started to watch so much live cooking now that I love it. It's amazing how much technology has taken leaps over the past few months and we've all been swept along, taking zooms and contactless everything in our stride.

About two months ago I started to do my own Instagram live cookalong every Monday at 6.30pm. It’s all quick and easy family food that can be rustled up in less than half an hour. I share the list of ingredients a few days beforehand so everyone can cook along. I’ve raided my back catalogue of Irish Times recipes, there are years of good eating and cooking to look back on.

Once I see a photo I can remember where I took it, what was going on around me and of course how it tasted. My behind the scenes camera reel features so many chubby toddler hands, grabbing at food as I try to capture the steam coming from a freshly cut baked potato or that melting piece of cheese on a pizza. All very delicious memories and my children have been there to see and eat it all, even more so over the past few months of course.

They adored this chicken souvlaki. It’s familiar yet fresh and fun at the same time.


Serves four


3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 tbsp chopped mint leaves

2 tbsp chopped oregano leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sweet smoked paprika

Sea salt

To serve: salad, flat breads or pitta, tzatziki, chips


1 Place the cubed chicken and all of the marinade ingredients into a ziploc bag or lidded lunchbox. Stir well to ensure the chicken is completely coated in the marinade. Leave for 30 minutes minimum, but a few hours or overnight in the fridge is ideal.

2 If you’re using wooden or bamboo skewers then soak them in water while the chicken marinates. Thread the meat onto the skewers evenly. Cook on a barebcue or under a hot grill, turning once, till evenly cooked through. Serve with warm pitta breads, tzatziki and salad.