Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemade Greek Gyros

I love, love, love freshly shaved Gyro meat from the rotisserie. When my husband was courting me he took me to the Greek Food Festival in Dallas and introduced me to the wonders of terrific Greek cooking. One of my favorite things we ate was the gyro (pronounced Yee- Roh, the G is silent). Happy Greek men with charming Texas accents shaved crispy slices of succulent and juicy meat from a spit roast and served it wrapped in warm pita with fresh Tzaziki sauce. I was in love. With the food, the culture and my future husband and in laws.

That was about 17 years ago and I just hit a milestone birthday. My girlfriend who kindly threw me a blowout party for my 30th, helped me celebrate a more "mature" birthday quietly with our two husbands at the local tavern. But before we went in for dinner, she summoned me to the car where she unveiled one of the most thoughtful gifts a friend could give me. A Cuisinart Rotisserie Oven!!! I nearly wept with joy.

The first night we had it, we made the most wonderful brined chicken. That's when we both looked at each other thoughtfully and being of the same mind after all these years, both exclaimed, "Homemade Gyros!!!"

I immediately started pouring through my Greek cookbooks and googling recipes until I found the perfect combination of Alton Brown's gyros and Michael Psilakis' recipe from his book, "How to Roast a Lamb".

It doesn't get much better than this and the hubby can't stop shaving pieces of sweet, succulent Gyro meat from our new rotisserie. Guess what we'll be serving up at the next pool party?

1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic
2 bulbs spring onion- white and light green parts only
2 tbs fresh Italian Parsley
2 tbs fresh Greek Oregano
2 tbs Cavendar's salt free Greek seasoning (at most grocery stores)
1 egg.

In a food processor, pulse everything but the meat about 10 seconds. Add the meat and pulse until it forms a paste. Much like a pate.

Line two 13 inch sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface until they overlap slightly in the middle and are about 18 inches wide. Spoon the meat mixture onto the middle. Then fold the plastic wrap over the loaf, being certain to press any air bubbles out of the wrap. Twist the ends, fold over, wrap in aluminum foil and place it in the freezer about 45 minutes to "cure", move it to the coldest part of your fridge for another hour.

It should be ready to go. Insert it on the roast spit, place it in the rotisserie for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and continue roasting and basting until the meat is a dark, golden brown.

Meanwhile heat some pita bread, make a greek salad of spinach, cucumbers, onions, feta and faro with lemon juice and vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle the gyro with Tzatziki sauce, dot with caramelized onions and feta. I got the recipe for the Tzatziki from my Kokkari cookbook, but you can find a great one here.  Or buy some amazing Tzatziki locally made in Austin from Zilk's. For a moment there, and I mean just a fleeting moment, we talked about opening up a taverna in Austin, because the Greek food places here are pitiful. But then we quickly came back to our senses...

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