Smoky Grilled Chicken Pita Flatbreads with Creamy Feta.
I’m curious what would happen to one if they ate an entire container of feta spread out of their refrigerator with a spoon.
I’m asking for a friend.
So here’s the thing.
Last year when I was doing the book tour and promo things for Seriously Delish, everyone always asked me what my favorite recipe was in the book. Of course, right? That’s a normal question.
And most people would have a normal answer, unless you’re an anxious millennial who says EVERYTHING is your favorite every day of the week and pretty much loves everything unless you absolutely hate it. On/off switch. amirite?
I cycled through nearly 400 recipes when developing my favorites for the book. And I can still pick favorites, like the grilled cheese with a potato soup dipper, the chicken panzanella, the peanut butter brownies, the coffee and donuts ice cream, the flank steak with sriracha cream, the pistachio cream cake.
Easy favorites, right? Just don’t ask me tomorrow.
But no. I pick… a boring favorite. It just appears boring. But it is the ULTIMATE favorite.
I call it the ultimate favorite because it’s probably the recipe I’ve made most out of my book. The chicken pitas with whipped feta were my answer to that question almost every time and usually – they still are. I was making it weekly before I even wrote the book. And by the way, I totally stole the recipe from my cousin Lacy who made it on a whim one night and served it to me and I was like THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER TASTED! before promptly begging her to let me include it in the book.
This recipe combines two important elements of success for me: flavor (um, duh) and texture. The chicken marinade is incredible and once grilled, it is so packed with flavor that you could easily eat it alone. The feta spread is a riff of off this feta dip (in the book I actually whip the feta and use the jalapeños) and I want to spread it all over my entire life. (see above.)
The texture is ideal because the pita is fluffy and warm. The feta spread is creamy and cold. The chicken is warm, then the tomatoes and herbs and feta crumbles are cool again and add some chew. I highly recommend adding some hummus as well. In the book, I also include a quick tzatziki. How much can we trash our pita up?! thismuch.
GAH. I love it so much.
For a few years we ate this with the chicken, feta, tomatoes, maybe some lettuce and hummus filled inside the pita pockets. I like that – it’s convenient and cute. But I am really into this open-faced pita flatbread thing even more. It’s sort of like a pizza but not. You can just keep piling things on top, whereas filling a pita isn’t as easy because it gets stuffed to the brim and eventually no longer fits in your mouth.
Annnnnnnd. You know how all summer long I’ve been whining about how obsessed we are with fajitas?
Well. These are the old fajitas. This is that one recipe you find that you HAVE to make weekly because you crave it and it’s simple. You don’t even have to make your own pita and many times, I find excellent whole wheat ones at my grocery store and they are super puffy and fluffy. Like clouds.
Clouds for dinner. It’s now a thing.
Smoky Grilled Chicken Pita Flatbreads with Creamy Feta
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, zest freshly grated and juiced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
fresh basil and oregano for topping
extra feta crumbles for topping
creamy herbed feta spread
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
8 ounces feta, crumbled
4 roasted garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
whole wheat pita
1 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for your workspace/kneading
1/2 teaspoon salt
canola oil for brushing
Add the chicken to a large baking dish or resealable plastic bag. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, vinegar, dill, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin. Pour it over the chicken and toss it to coat. Place the dish or bag in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to eat, remove the chicken from the fridge. Heat your grill on the highest setting (I believe ours goes to 750 or 800 degrees F) and grill the chicken until brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and let cool slightly before shredding.
To serve, slather a pita (open-faced) with the feta spread. Top it with the chicken (preferably still warm) and cover in a bunch of herbs, tomatoes and extra feta on top. Devour.
creamy herbed feta spread
Place the yogurt in a large bowl and add the feta. Crumble it up with a spoon and stir. Add in the garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and mix until combined and creamy, breaking down the feta crumbled as you go. I like the make this ahead of time so the flavors really come together.
[As a note, I roast the garlic cloves ahead of time or try to have some on hand. To roast a few cloves, peel them then place in a packet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil up and roast at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.]
whole wheat pita
Combine the water, yeast and honey in a bowl, stirring once to mix. Let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes, then stir in the flour and salt. Stir until the dough comes together then use your hands to further bring it together - if it is super sticky, add a bit more flour (I usually add extra all-purpose when needed). Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it with your hands for above 5 minutes. I have kneaded it for a shorter amount of time and it's been fine. Rub oil along the inside of a bowl and place the dough inside, then cover it and set it in a warm place so it can rise. Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Place the dough back on the floured surface and knead a few times. If it's still sticky, add a few sprinkles of flour with your hands and knead until it's silky smooth. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out as thinly as you can - we are talking super THIN.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with a bit of canola (or another higher heat) oil. Place the thin dough round on the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, just until it starts to bubble. Flip it over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, it should get puffy and have a few golden spots. Flip over and cook for another minute. Set aside and repeat.
Speaking of clouds, look at that pita! I see a reverse chicken emoji head. What do you see?