Home Cooking In the Kitchen Oh, for the love of gyros: How to make this Mediterranean classic...

Oh, for the love of gyros: How to make this Mediterranean classic in your own kitchen

Photo: Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig

I have to say I’ve thought quite a bit about going strictly vegetarian. The key word here is thought. It’s a thought, one I have often, I think about it and maybe one day it will happen for perhaps a period of time. I’m not saying I’m a big meat eater to begin with — mostly fish and chicken are my go-to proteins.

So…..I keep seeing this video on social media. Annnnddd things like this video are reasons why I’m not a vegetarian, just yet.

I have the hots for gyros, any kind of gyro. The combination of marinated slow-cooked meat with crunchy veggies, topped with tangy yogurt sauce, wrapped inside of warm pita bread — oh my! I know I’ve said I could live on a lot of things for the rest of my life, but if I had to choose one thing to bring with me to a deserted island it’d be a gyro food truck.

After seeing that video above, I realized that my dreams of cooking gyro at home might actually come true. But that onion which appears to make a nice sturdy base there in the video, what they don’t mention is that when the onion cooks, it gets soft. My suggestion is to use a medium sized onion, about the size of a baseball, cutting off both ends to make it nice and flat on both sides. I used half of a large onion and yeah, I had a toppling tower of gyro meat halfway through cooking time. The skewer needed more onion to keep it in the upright position.

The yogurt sauce recipe I have provided is also a little different because I like a yogurt sauce with more tang and richness to coat the pita that hugs my gyro meat, plus more for drizzling on top. I prefer to use onions and cucumber for garnish but the options are somewhat limitless. Stay classy with tomatoes and onions, or get wild with some julienne carrot and radish. Either way, this recipe for juicy gyro meat is going to keep things quiet and delicious at the dinner table.

Photo: Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig

Oven Roasted Chicken Gyro
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 medium yellow onion, ends and peel removed
10-inch wooden skewer

2 cups Greek full day yogurt
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic paste
2 tablespoon Garam Masala
1tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cucumber Dill Yogurt Sauce
2 cups Greek full day yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
1 cucumber, grated with skin
1 tablespoon garlic paste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt to taste
pepper to taste

6 to 8 pitas
cucumber, sliced
tomato, sliced
onion, sliced

* Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken to tenderize and even out any thick parts. Place in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine all of the marinade ingredients and whisk until well combined. Taste for seasoning. Coat the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for 1 hour.
* While the chicken is marinating make the yogurt sauce. Squeeze any excess liquid from the grated cucumber, add to a bowl. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Skewer the center of the onion and push through until even with the bottom surface. Place on a greased sheet tray. Take the chicken thighs and stack on the skewer rotating to create an even mound. If necessary, trim the skewer before placing in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Shave the meat off of the skewer, rotating around. Serve with the yogurt sauce, pita and any desired fixings.