My title actually rhymes of you say gyro like Mr. Holden does.
Every year that we make it to the great New York State Fair, the highlight for both of us is a giant, dripping, saliva-activating, Greek gyro. But the flavors are so amazing, this treat should be enjoyed more than once a year. I’ve finally managed to recreate it at home!
If you don’t have sourdough starter on hand, here’s a simple, instant-yeast-raised pita bread…
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tsp. yeast
- 2 tsp. salt
In the bowl of a mixer. Mix well and gradually add
- 2-3 more cups of flour
until dough cleans the side of the bowl. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until double. Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 500 and put a cast iron griddle on the lowest rack setting. (a pizza stone would work, too).
Divide dough into 10 or 12 balls and roll each one to 1/4 inch thickness–about 6 to 8 inches across. Let them rest on floured table or baking sheets while you form the others. When the oven is good and hot, gently transfer a disc or two of dough onto your baking stone/griddle (I can fit two on my griddle at a time) and bake for 2 minutes. Flip them with a metal spatula, and bake for two more minutes. The dough should be poofed when you open the oven to flip them, and will get even puffier in the last few minutes of baking.
They are done when they ‘dry’ looking–don’t bake them to the point of browning, they will be over done and not soft enough to be flexible. If they don’t poof at all, let the dough discs rest longer (15 minutes or more) before baking them, to give the yeast more time to work. If they don’t poof at all, well, don’t worry, they will still work for gyros, because you don’t actually use the pocket feature of a pita when you build a gyro–you wrap the whole thing around the meat, more like a taco.
Then I marinated some minute steaks (Look for them in the freezer section, a name brand is “Steakems”) in Greek seasoning mix. Lamb is traditional, but beef is what I have, people. And it works.
Greek Seasoning Mix
- 1 part marjoram
- 2 parts basil
- 3 parts oregano
- 1 part ground pepper
- 2 parts garlic powder
- 2 parts onion flakes
- 2 parts salt
- 2 parts smoked paprika
If your’e just doing a single batch of something, make 1 part equal 1/2 teaspoon. Since I wanted to have mix for future uses, I did 1 part=1 Tablespoon. To marinade, stack steakems with a teaspoon of mix between each layer (Using a total of about 4 Tbsp. per package of steakems), and then squeeze a lemon over them. Let sit on counter till steaks are thawed, or in fridge for several hours.
Bonus Tip: if you don’t have smoked paprika, you can use regular, but PLEASE! If you haven’t tried smoked paprika, get yourself some ASAP! I only ‘met’ it this year, but it has added the most amazing flavor to certain dishes. It really takes this mix over the top, so grab some if you don’t have this in your pantry yet.
When I threw the meat on the griddle suddenly my kitchen smelled just like the fair, minus the beer fumes (thank heavens).
While the meat cooked, I pulled the tzatziki sauce I’d made earlier and other toppings out of the fridge….
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup shredded cucumber (grate on a cheese grater and wrap it in a fine towel to squeeze out the excess juice)
- 3 cloves garlic
- juice of one lemon (3 Tbsp.)
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a jar, cap, and place in fridge until you’re ready for it.
At the fair, the gyros also have onions and tomatoes, but we’re making do here. The most important thing is that tzatziki sauce.
First, you spread the tart, garlicky, cucumber-laced yogurt sauce as generously as you dare all over that fresh sourdough pita. Then you sprinkle on chopped lettuce, layer on a sizzling pile of meat, and then some crumbles of feta.
Mr. Holden is the expert at rolling and wrapping them so they look just like the ones handed to you at the fair. I wasn’t picky–I just ran to the table so I could sit down and devour mine as fast as possible.
It was amazing. The garlic. The feta. And all the glorious texture…crunchy and chewy and juicy and, and, and–I think it’s time to make these again.
I’m thinking this is going to be a favorite meal this summer, when the veggies are in season and I want a satisfying dinner with very little time spent over the stove.
Well except for that whole baking two pitas at a time in a 500 degree oven thing. But I can always do that earlier in the day, right? Right.