July 31, 2014
Greek Lamb Gyros ♥ There's something sexy about food in an apron
When the cat's away the mouse eats lamb....huh, WHAT!?!?
I always plan to test recipes that I want to eat when The Nudge is traveling. Then if they are really good (which the majority are), I put them on our dinner menu.
I had such a craving for Gyros lately. No, I didn't Jones about them, but I must have seen a Gyro truck on a food show and I realized it had been decades since I ate one and now I just had to have one. Since I did not want all the trouble of making a traditional shawarma (meat on a vertical rotisserie), I set out to see what other options there was.
Gyro meat is really easy to cook, so I bought a pound of ground lamb, tomatoes, mint, yogurt, cucumbers and na'an bread and got to work.
This was so simple. One skillet and a small amount of knife work...DONE
My kind of meal. I remember eating these some 20 years ago when I worked in my local mall. They were full of flavor, and, wrapped in foil, easy to eat. I am sure they used pieces of meat (chicken, beef and lamb) but it was the sauce that pulled it all together.
This is a great way to make a quick easy dinner that can be grabbed to eat on the go (like all our lives lately).
The meat could be cooked while you are cooking something else and then frozen. The Tzatziki will keep in the fridge for up 2 two weeks, which you will probably have to drain before using.
I did not have an actual recipe for the lamb, so I simply put together traditional Greek spices and flavors, simmering the meat until it was the consistency of a Sloppy Joe. Easy, peasy!
While the meat was becoming phenomenal, I made the Tzatziki sauce, chopped up a fresh tomato and red onion along with the fresh mint. The mint is important in this dish and can be found fresh in most supermarkets. I grow mine in a huge garden pot and it returns year after year.
The first time I made this for me, I bought na'an bread and heated it in the oven.
When I made it a few days later, again, for The Nudge, the na'an was sold out so I bought pocket-less pitas and I could not tell the difference.
It you have parchment paper, roll and wrap the pita like a diaper (foil works well too, just don't bite into it) and as you eat, pull the paper down until the food is gone. Shirt stays clean and no problem eating on the run. We love that, don't we?
I actually like the thin candy paper that comes pre-cut. One sheet makes two diapers.
Makes enough for 4 gyros
* 3/4 lb. ground lamb (or beef)
* 1/4 cup minced red onion
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 tsp. black pepper
* 1/4 cup red wine
* 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
* 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tsp. dried oregano
* 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon both dried mint and thyme leaves & 1 bay leaf
1. Saute the lamb until it is completely browned. Drain off all the fat & pat with a paper towel.
2. Add the lamb back to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, salt & tomato paste. Saute until the paste starts to brown.
3. Add the black pepper and the wine. Scrape up all the bits on the pan.
4. Add the remaining herbs and lemon juice. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
At this point it can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Tzatziki sauce is the cool and creamy sauce that usually is served as a condiment on Greek Gyro sandwiches. The recipe calls for the thicker, Greek Yogurt. If you can't find this type of yogurt, you can use plain, regular yogurt from the grocery store. But in order to get the sauce to the desired thicker consistency, you need to suspend the yogurt in a cheesecloth for a couple of hours to drain some of the water off.
If you don't mind it moderately runny, you can just make it as is and it is still delicious, just more messy.
Tzatziki Sauce - Greek Cucumber/Yogurt Sauce
Yield: 1 cup
* 1 cup Greek yogurt
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 small (or half a large) cucumber, seeded and diced
* 1 teaspoon salt (for salting cucumbers)
* 2 teaspoons fresh mint (or more), chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, minced (optional)
* salt & freshly ground black pepper
Peel cucumbers and. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, mint and/or dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed.
Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.
Serving Size: 1 (2 tablespoons)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0.0
Saturated Fat 0.0
Total Carbohydrate 1.2g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g