Pork Souvla may the be most famous Cypriot dish and is arguably the most popular. Consisting of skewered pieces of meat that are grilled, it is traditionally made by men and dates back to the iron age.
Pork souvla is traditionally cooked on a foukou, which is a Greek charcoal grill with a rotisserie so that the meat can be turned and grilled evenly.
Souvla is found in Greece as well, but the Cypriot version has a number of key differences. Most importantly, it is made with larger pieces of meat. which means that they take longer to cook. As a result, Cypriot pork souvla is typically cooked at a lower temperature for longer periods.
In order to ensure a lower temperature, the meat is cooked further away from the coals than Greek souvlaki. It is then brought closer to the coals as the end of the cooking time nears. This allows the meat to cook all the way through without drying out.
Another difference is the fact that Greek souvlaki is usually made with lamb, not pork.
In Cyprus, pork souvla is usually served in a pitta and is associated with special occasions like religious holidays.
- 2 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon of ground Greek oregano (rigani)
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of red wine (or good red wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
In a bowl, pour wine (or vinegar) and oil over the pork and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and oregano, and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Note: If using vinegar, do not marinate longer than 2 hours or the meat can absorb too strong a vinegar taste. If using wine, the meat can be marinated for up to 2 days as long as salt is also used.
Using 8-inch skewers, thread approximately 6 pieces of meat on each. This should make about 12 skewers.
Grill the meat turning until well browned, about 15 minutes.
Serve on the skewers with a squeeze of lemon.
Serves 3 (4 skewers per person) as a main dish.