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February 10, 2008


I LOVE Greek food, and I especially enjoy a good Gyro. SO when I found a recipe online for homemade Gyro and Tzatziki sauce I just HAD to try it. Add some home made pita's, some tomatoes, sliced onion and TONS of feta and you have a GREAT Gyro.
The Gyro meat itself is basically a meatloaf. You can roast it or cook it in the oven. Since the Oven was the only thing available to me that is what I used. It turned out great. The only thing that would have made it better was if I had a food processor to grind up the meatloaf better.

Gyro Meat

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. Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve

The Pita bread is quite simple, and yet time consuming, like most breads...

makes 6 pitas

2 C bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 oz yeast
2/3 C lukewarm water
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Mix the yeast with the water then stir in the olive oil. Gradually beat the flour and salt into the mixture. Turn out on floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Punch down and divide into 6 pieces and let rest for 5 mins. Roll out into ovals about 1/4 in thick. let rise 23-30 mins.
Bake at 450 on pizza stone for 4-6 mins until puffed up.

The Tzatziki sauce needs to be started the day before, simply because the yogurt has to strain overnight. I was shocked at just how much juice drained from the yogurt overnight. And I read that the longer you let it drain the better the flavor. Next time I'll let it drain for a full 24 hours, not just overnight.

Tzatziki Sauce
makes 1 1/2 C

16 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
Pinch kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
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, 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. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

I actually wanted mine a bit smoother and I ran it through my blender before serving. My husband and kids and I loved it. But I added too much garlic. I tend to go overboard with garlic because most recipes don't have enough for me. I learned my lesson though and I'll stick to the recommended amount for my first trial for now on.