The Black & White Gyro

This turned out to be a hodgepodge of recipes and cooking methods that I found this weekend after Lauren mentioned taking a second run at gyros. The first time I found the meat to be a little bland and the meal to be very lacking compared to what you can buy at your local Middle Eastern deli. Not only that, but we forgot to take the feta out of the fridge and put it on our gyros.

The base recipe was Alton Brown's Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce. Be sure to start the sauce first because it takes the longest. I know what you're thinking because we skipped it the first time, but you definitely want to drain the yogurt (even one hour would do wonders) or you will end up with a really thin sauce of a consistency closer to milk than yogurt. If you're wondering what a tea towel is, it is basically a linen napkin.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 16 ounces plain yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (or pulsed in a food processor)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used just two)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced
Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl or large mouth cup, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros.

Lamb Gyros
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.

To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

I used 1 lb ground lamb and 1 lb ground chicken, which I think gives me the leeway to call them black and white gyros. Not to mention ground lamb is about $6/lb and ground chicken is just $3.

Rather than mess with the food processor for the lamb I mixed it in the KitchenAid on medium speed, as though I were making a meatloaf. The result was the same as it was when we did it in the food processor last year.

From there I found Tammy's Recipe for Lamb Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce, which use marinated, sauteed lamb steak. So here is the marinade:

Gyro Marinade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (if using chopped fresh oregano, use 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (if using chopped fresh rosemary, use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Understanding that my mixed meatloaf would be unlikely to suck up the moisture of a true marinade I simply added the wet ingredients while mixing it in the KitchenAid, left out the salt and seasonings but kept the pepper. Then I shaped my meatloaf in two parts using a greased glass loaf pan. After pressing the bottom half of the loaf into the pan I cut off a chunk of feta and crumbled it on top, then pressed the second half of the loaf on top for a feta stuffed gyro loaf. I wrapped the finished loaf in parchment and rested it in the fridge for an hour or so (just because I wasn't going to be eating dinner right away).

Half an hour before I was ready to cook I gave the exterior a dry rub with Tammy's seasoning, which I also found listed in several other gyro recipes as the "Greek seasoning" they use at Mediterranean delis:

Gyro Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or regular)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper
I rolled my meatloaf in this dry rub, then seared it on the grill for about 6 minutes total. Then I stuck the seared loaf in my preheated oven on a metal rack for about 1 hour.

Using a meat thermometer I pulled the loaf when it reach 165 degrees and let it rest for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process. During the rest I took 5 whole wheat pitas, wrapped them in a damp tea towel, wrapped that in tin foil and set them on the rack in the oven to warm.

Once that was complete it was just a matter of cutting the gyro loaf into chunks (sorry, it doesn't quite shave like the rotisserie lamb at the deli), spreading some Tzatziki sauce on the pitas and topping with sliced tomato.

The gyros were delicious and made the kitchen smell awesome. Lauren and I each had one gyro which left enough for at least another two person lunch and two person dinner. So I would say it serves about six.


Rach said...

I saw Alton's Gyro show too & made the tzatziki the next looked so delicious. We had ours with toasted bread slices...and them on top of grilled chicken. I think I will have to try the meat with my mixer - thanks for the tip! I don't have a food processor. Did you use the wire beater or the white one? How did it taste?