I have been craving chicken gyros. Not sure where it came from; I haven't had Greek food or passed by a Greek restaurant in recent days... But I have been dreaming of cool tzatziki, crispy/soft pita and garlicky chicken for days. I'll be honest, I went to Google maps to find a Greek take out place before I remembered - I'm a chef! Make it yourself!
So, I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients for a highly rated recipe I found on Epicurious, then came home to make it.
It took some time because I roasted a chicken (rather than buy a rotisserie chicken, as some of the reviewers did). But boy was it worth it. This gyro rivaled any one I have had at an authentic Greek restaurant and I knew that the ingredients were fresh and mostly local. Good stuff.
Chicken gyros with cucumber salsa and tzatziki sauce
from March 2009 Gourmet Magazine
2 Kirby cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (3/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 (12-ounces) package naan bread (four 8-inch pieces)
or 4 (8-inch) pocketless pita rounds
1/2 roasted chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded (about 2 1/4 cups), and carcass reserved for stock
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, one third of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make tzatziki.
Cut remaining cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces and stir together with tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make salsa.
Gently simmer oil, oregano, rosemary, remaining garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss chicken with 3 tablespoons garlic oil and brush one side of bread with remainder.
Heat bread, oiled side up, in a 4-sided sheet pan, covered with foil, 3 to 4 inches from broiler 3 minutes. Uncover and broil, rotating bread for even coloring, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes.
Spread some of tzatsiki on warm bread and top with chicken and some of lettuce and salsa. Serve remaining lettuce, salsa, and tzatsiki on the side.
* Tzatziki can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
I used a hothouse cucumber, but any small seeded cucumber should work fine. I also used pocket pitas, even though they aren't recommended. I found that they worked just fine once they were broiled and warm. Last thing I substituted was romaine instead of iceberg lettuce. I didn't have any rosemary on hand and I didn't miss it. Sometimes rosemary can be a little strong, anyway. The real "aha moment" came when I took the cooked/shredded chicken and tossed it with the garlicky oil. YUM! Mine was especially garlicky because I roasted the chicken with five cloves of garlic stuffed in the cavity!
Like I mentioned earlier, it was delicious! It requires quite a bit of chopping and prep, especially if you roast the chicken yourself, but for short cuts you could use store bought tzatziki and already cooked rotisserie chicken.
Do you have any Greek favorites? Feel free to share with me here!
Chow for Now!