My husband and I have always enjoyed Mediterranean food, and gyros are pretty much one of our favorite meals ever. The lamb meat is always so flavorful, and I love, love, LOVE tzatziki sauce. In fact, I’m always a little disappointed every time I order a gyro because I don’t think they ever add enough tzatziki! So anyways, I searched the Internet for recipes and created an amalgam with my own variations that is just absolutely superb…and not too difficult to make!
I like making my recipes as easy as possible and I like to spare unnecessary steps that don’t really affect the flavor and take too much time and effort. This recipe calls for a few steps that may seem like a bit of work, but I’ve left out a few of the things that I thought were overboard. I’m sure you’ll enjoy finding your own happy medium as well.
Ingredients for Gyro Meat
- 1 lb of Ground Beef (or Ground Lamb…I just use like using grass-fed ground beef because it’s what I have on hand.)
- 1 Medium Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 T. Marjoram Leaves (This is really one of the key ingredients that gives the meat its flavor, but you could always add some basil or thyme and it would still be pretty good.)
- 1 t. Ground Oregano
- 2 t. Real Salt
- 2 t. Onion Powder
- ½ t. Pepper
- 2 t. Bragg Liquid Aminos
Directions for Gyro Meat
- Preheat the oven to 325º F.
- Coarsely chop up the onion and garlic and put into a food processor. After chopping them up finely, put into the middle of a paper towel and soak up all of the extra juice. (This is one of those steps that you don’t want to skip!)
- Add the onion/garlic mixture and all of the seasonings to the meat. Mix with a large wooden spoon or by hand.
- *Optional: Many recipes call for placing the meat and all of the seasonings in a food processor to make a really smooth consistency. I only have a small food processor, and I used it to chop up several batches of the meat. I’m not really sure how much good it did or how important this step is, but if you have a large food processor, you might want to go for it!
- Place the meat mixture in a glass bread pan and press down firmly until the top is level.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. *Optional: Many recipes I read called for the bread pan to be placed inside of a roasting pan full of boiling water. This seemed like too much of a hassle, and so I skipped it, but feel free to try it if you have the extra time!
- Take the meat out of the pan (save the extra juice to pour back over the top of the meat once you slice it) and place it on a cutting board. Wrap a brick in foil and place it on top of the meat. (*I didn’t have a brick, so I just used a few books wrapping the bottom one with foil.) Let it sit like this for about 15-20 minutes.
- Slice the meat really thin andpour any remaining juice over the top.
Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce
- 2 c. Plain Yogurt (I like Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk. I also like using 3 cups because I LOVE tzatziki sauce, but if you want a more modest amount, 2 cups should do just fine.)
- 1 Medium to Large Cucumber (peeled, seeded, and finely chopped)
- 3 Garlic Cloves (finely minced)
- Juice from 1 Lemon (or lime)
- 1 T. Olive Oil
- 2 t. Real Salt
- 1 t. Mint Leaves
- 1 c. Finely Crumbled Feta Cheese (I chopped up a solid chunk and put it in my food processor.)
Directions for Tzatziki Sauce
- First, scoop out the amount of plain yogurt that you want and place into a mixing bowl.
- I coarsely chopped up my cucumber and then put it in my food processor to get it more finely chopped. I also did this with my garlic and my feta cheese.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour to let the flavors set in.
Eat Your Gyros!
Gyros are typically served with lettuce, tomato, and onion in a pita wrap. But since this is your house, serve them any way you’d like! I love getting a big pile of lettuce and making more of a gyro salad with LOTS of tzatziki sauce. Yum! I also love using this tzatziki sauce as a salad dressing and dip for things like my yummy potato fries or rounds.
How Do You Pronounce Gyro?
In case you were wondering how to pronounce “gyro”, this provides a pretty good explanation of how the Greeks say it, how some Americans try to say it and butcher it, and how the Cambridge Dictionary says we should pronounce it. This YouTube video shows ten foods that we Americans typically mispronounce, including gyro, hummus, and bruschetta, and this girl is completely ridiculous, but I think she kind of nails it.
In Greece (where gyros originated), it is pronounced gYEERRRR-o. There is a slightly soft g in the beginning and you sort of roll the rs like this guy does. Many people in America try to pronounce it correctly, but instead sound like this (YEAR-o). Then, there are other people, like this guy (JY-ro), who believe in the complete Americanization and domination of all foreign words.
While getting my Master’s degree in linguistics, I came to the understanding that language will do what it does, not what we want it to. We can have the best intentions for pronouncing a word a certain way, but in the end, it will be pronounced however the majority of people decide to pronounce it. So until people start looking at me weird, I’m going to go with gYEErr-o, so it kind of sounds like I’m trying to pronounce it the correct “Greek” way, but not trying too hard.
Also, for the record, tzatziki is pronounced zat-ZEE-key, not ta-ZEE-key like I’ve always said it. Oops.
Now, how was all that for some food for thought? 🙂