We originally made this meal combination back in February 2017 when we were first exploring the world via our kitchen, while we documented other Greek food experiences, for whatever reason, I never posted this one. Alas, the time has come where I’m finally sitting down to write about one of our very favorite meals.
A gyro or gyros (/ˈdʒaɪroʊ, ˈʒɪər-, ˈjɪər-, ˈɡɪər-/; Greek: γύρος, romanized: yíros/gyros, lit. ‘turn’, pronounced [ˈʝiros]) is a Greek dish made from meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Like shawarma and tacos al pastor, it is derived from the lamb-based doner kebab. In Greece it is now most often pork or chicken, whilst beef, chicken, and lamb is common in other countries. It is typically served wrapped or stuffed in a pita, along with ingredients such as tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyro_(food)
Now, I’m sure the majority of us don’t have a vertical rotisserie in our homes. Follow the recipe below (I will cite once I find the original. Printed without link 3 years ago), for the non vertical rotisserie version and you won’t be disappointed.
- 1 Medium Onion, quartered
- 1 Pound Ground Lamb
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 4-5 garlic Cloves
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 9×5 inch Loaf Pan
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, 163 degrees Celsius
- Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
- Add onion and puree until smooth.
- Add ground beef with all of the spices. Pulse until the mixture becomes like a paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between pulses.
- Place the mixture in a loaf pan and compact as much as possible.
- Bake 45 minutes-1 hour
- Allow the pan to cool at room temperature completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before removing from the pan.
- Remove meat from pan onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice it thinly. Pour all of the pan juices over the slices along with any of the fat that has gelatinized. This adds flavor while heating up.
- Slices not being used can be placed in a freezer bag for later use.
For the Sandwiches
- Pita Bread
- Onion Slices
- Tomato Slices
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Crumbled Feta Cheese
- Place a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook the gyro slices until they are browned on both sides.
- Warm the pita bread slightly.
- Place some chopped lettuce, onion, and tomato slices over the pita, then the warm gyro slices. Top with tzatziki sauce and some crumbled Feta Cheese.
So absolutely everything I’ve read says to use dried chickpeas and rinse overnight. Well, during this time with the COVID-19 Pandemic, many items are unavailable. So, when Matt was able to find canned Garbanzo beans, I figured they were better than nothing.
Despite everything I read and was told, these worked SO MUCH BETTER. It could be the canned beans, it could be that I’m finally better at this, it could be that I used a deeper pan to fry them in. I’m not sure what the difference was, but these turned out and held together better than any falafel I’ve ever made. Posting a variation of a recipe I found online, but with the changes I’ve made.
Also I’m sure fresh parsley and cilantro make it taste totally different, but I honestly never have those around.
- 1 can Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas (I think this was 15oz?)
- 1/2 cup chopped Onion
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Coriander (ground, or seeds, they’ll grind up in the chopper)
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 3 teaspoons Water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Cups Oil, Recipe recommends Sunflower, I used Canola
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Sesame Seeds (I was out this time)
- Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander, add to chopper and pulse until finely chopped, empty into a large mixing bowl.
- Add Onion, Parsley, Cilantro, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, and Coriander to chopper, and pulse until finely chopped and well blended.
- Add Seasoning/Onion mixture to mixing bowl with chopped chickpeas.
- Add Baking Powder, Water, and Flour, and salt (I only added a dash) to bowl and mix all ingredients until smooth.
- Cover the mixture and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to cook, fill a deep pan with the oil and turn on medium-high heat. You’ll know the oil is ready, when you stick the tip of a toothpick in it and it begins to bubble.
- While oil is warming up, pull the mixture from the fridge and start rolling into balls, about the size of a walnut. Don’t handle them too much or they will start to fall apart, but do roll quickly and tightly. You can dip them in the Sesame seeds now, or sprinkle them on top of all prior to frying.
- Add falafel balls to oil a few at a time, I usually do 5 or 6, and fry for 3-4 minutes, make sure they cook through, remove to paper towel lined plate.
- Serve and enjoy!
(Left: Falafel seasonings after being mixed with chopped chick peas right before going into the fridge. Right: after being formed into balls.)
(Left: 5 Falafel in pot with hot oil. Right: After frying.)
I’ve raved about this salad before and tagged it in a few posts. I typed out the original recipe when I posted about the amazing combination of Shawarma and Salad. Check out the recipe there and the Shawarma. So good.
This one I had to wait to talk to Matt for. He makes the Tzatziki sauce every time and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tzatziki can be found in the form of a dip, soup, or sauce and is common in South Eastern European and Mediterranean cuisines. Usually it consists of some sort of yogurt, dill, parsley, and other ingredients. Below is the version Matt makes, like my mother he doesn’t measure, so I’ll try to estimate for him:
- 1.5 cups Greek Yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
- 2 Large Spoonfulls Crumbled Feta Cheese
- 2 Slices of Cucumber, chopped small, and mushed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Dill
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir.
Have you ever had any of these before? What are some other Greek inspired recipes you think we should try? Let us know in the comments below!!
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