Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicken Gyros

My DB and I have found THE best place for gyros (pronounced yee-ros): Steve’s Gyros, located in a tiny stand at the West Side Market (Cleveland, OH). It has, undisputedly, THE BEST gyros my lips have ever tasted. We have searched and tasted high and low here (Cincinnati, OH), but we both can agree that no one can top Steve’s. When we’re up north, we always make a special trip there to get our fix. Unfortunately, we can’t always make the 4.5-hour drive home, so we were on the hunt for a terrific recipe… and this definitely foots the bill (as I've had this tagged in Reader for a LONG time!). The chicken breasts are marinated in a Greek citrus vinaigrette to produce moist and flavorful meat, which is then topped with garlicky tzatziki cucumber sauce. All of this is piled into a warmed pita flatbread. Add some chopped tomatoes and red onions and voila- a wonderfully delicious gyro is made!

Although there is some marinating/marrying of flavors that needs to be done, this recipe is a great weeknight meal option as everything comes together so quickly… just make sure you allot enough time to do the prep work. I only made ½ the recipe of the Tzatziki sauce, which was the perfect amount. This was the first time I've used Greek yogurt, and all the hype about it is true- it has a thick and creamy texture, and a wonderful creamy taste. Going forward, I would skip the "straining yogurt" step and just use Greek yogurt- you'll save yourself A LOT of time this way. I'm looking forward to using this product in future dishes. I would recommend using Greek Pita Flatbread, which is different that the traditional pita breads, which tend to be dry. I know I've already said this before, but if you can do the prep work the evening before, the meal took no time at all to put together tonight.

Marinated Chicken
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1-1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper
4 (pocketless) pitas (I used Greek Pita Flatbread)
1/2 batch of tzatziki (Recipe below)
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced onions (I use red as they are the only kind I like raw)

Tzatziki Sauce (Original recipe here, but I made ½ the recipe, seen below)
16-oz. container (2 cups) plain yogurt (I do NOT recommend fat free, but a fat free Greek yogurt will be OK, since it’s thicker)
1 hothouse cucumber or 2 regular cucumbers, seeded
2-3 cloves garlic–depending how garlicky you like it, minced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Squeeze of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper, little
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

For the Chicken
1. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

2. Preheat the broiler (or grill, or pan on the stove). Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using.

3. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
4. Meanwhile, heat your pitas.
5. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, and onions. Roll up and eat!

For the Tzatziki Sauce
1. Strain yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl (if you don’t have that, a strainer lined with a coffee filter will work) for several hours or overnight to get out as much moisture out as possible. (Omitted this step since used Greek yogurt)
2. Peel and seed the cucumber.

3. Shred the cucumbers (used my food processor) and then squeeze the life out of them to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible. (I used paper towels to do this, and you will get a lot of liquid so don’t skip this step! Yes, there is a lot of straining and squeezing–and it’s all important! You don’t want a runny tzatziki.)

4. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, vinegar lemon juice, and dill. Salt and Pepper to taste. It’s best to refrigerate for 30 minutes or more before serving, so flavors can meld. (This resting time is very important.)
5. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Source: Elly Says Opa!


katie said...

This looks fantastic~ I am going to try it for sure.

Joelen said...

Mmm- such a great meal for the summer!

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