I can be your gyro, Baby
The town I grew up in only had 1 restaurant. Lucky for me, it was a good one. It had a generic name, The House of Pizza, but had some pretty gosh darned authentic Greek food.
Wait. I take that back. I’ve never been to Greece. Who knows if that stuff they claimed was Greek actually originated from the Middle East? The owners, however, did have accents and first names that differed from the norms of Jim, Bob, and Jim-Bob. That’s worth something, right?
I remember my mom would always order the same dish. I have no idea what I usually ordered. It probably never mattered anyway, because for some reason I ruined my appetite every time I ate at the House of Pizza by eating cellophane-wrapped-crackers topped with the homemade Greek style dressing ad nauseum. I only did this to be cool — it was something the big kids did.
Anyway, my mom always ordered the gyro, pronounced yhee-ro. If we were lucky, and had the waitress with the glass eye (I kid you not), my mom would be able to successfully order her dinner.
This restaurant also served red wine chilled from the refrigerator.
But I think that’s another issue.
Here I created a vegetarian gyro sandwich for myself. I concede, that basically means nothing, because gyros aren’t exactly vegetarian. So, I made myself a sandwich and made the Omnivore a beef gyro.
For the pita (6 large rounds, adapted from Deborah Madison)
3/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey or barley malt syrup
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cups bread flour
Put the warm water in the mixing bowl, stir in the yeast and honey, and set aside until foamy. Meanwhile oil a bowl for the dough. Stir in the salt and olive oil in the stand mixer bowl and then beat in the whole-wheat flour until smooth. I just used my dough hook all along. Add the rest of the flour in small increments and need until dough is smooth and supple.
Punch the dough down and divide into 6 pieces for 7-8-inch breads. Roll each piece into a ball and then cover them with a damp towel. Let rest 20 minutes. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each ball into a round, about 1/8″ thick.
For the unpocked pitas featured in this recipe, preheat a cast iron pan to med-high heat stovetop. Brush hot surface with olive oil. Place one pita round on the hot iron and bake stovetop or about 3 seconds. Flip pita gently, and continue cooking 30-45 seconds. Repeat with all rounds, keeping cooked breads in a towel.
For the cucumber-yogurt sauce (adapted from here and here)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely shredded
3/4 cup plain yogurt, strained in cheese cloth
1 T lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, smashed
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Peel and finely dice the cucumber. Place the pieces in a colander and allow the liquid to drain while you mix the other ingredients in a bowl.
Before adding the cucumber, blot it lightly with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Add it to the yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to allow the flavors to blend.
For the filling
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 scallion, sliced
Cucumber yogurt sauce (above)
Beef filling (marinade courtesy of EllySaysOpa)
1/3 lb beef
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1.5 t lemon juice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
Combine meat with marinade a few hours before cooking.
Saute onions and peppers (and beef separately, thank you very much!). Top pita with cooked veggies, then a helping of tzatziki, and some tomatoes and scallions. Fold and go!