Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's Greek to Me

I love street food, and a gyros is one that particularly entices me; what's not to love? Garlic, oregano, a hint of lemon mixed with lamb, and beef, then topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce, and a green salad in a red wine vinaigrette---it's the perfect summertime meal.  When I was testing recipes for Slow Cooker, The Best Cookbook Ever  I made gyros meatballs and they were terrific, but you could also make them into meatloaf or into burgers for the grill.  I found a gyros meatloaf in the freezer on Thursday night (we call these nights "freezer surprises") and made it into pita sandwiches for Dr. C and I---it was terrific.  Here's the basic recipe and I hope you'll try it for your next party of get together. 

Gyros Meatloaf/Meatballs/Burgers
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound lean ground lamb
1 pound lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in the palm of your hand
2 slices bread, crust removed, torn into pieces
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest of one lemon
½ cup finely chopped parsley
Oil for frying (if making meatballs)

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients stirring to combine.  Using a scoop, form into 2-inch balls, or two meat loaves 6-inches long by 3-inches wide, or burgers about 5-inches in diameter and refrigerate until ready to cook.    
  2. For meatballs, heat 1-inch of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the meatballs until they are crisp and golden brown and cooked through.  Remove to a rack to drain and cool.  Serve either warm or at room temperature with cucumber yogurt sauce. 
  3. For meat loaves, bake the loaves on a rack in a baking pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  4. For burgers, preheat the grill for 10 minutes, and grill over direct heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the burgers are cooked to your desired degree of doneness. 
I sauteed the meatloaf to give it that crispy crust that I love--it's optional!
Heat up the pita in a non-stick skillet like Scanpan
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce 
Makes about 3 cups
1 European cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups Greek Style yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white pepper 
  1. Put the cucumber in a colander and toss with the salt.  Drain for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, dill, vinegar, oil, and pepper until blended. 
  3. Fold the cucumber into the yogurt mixture.
  4. Do-Ahead: At this point, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.Stir before serving cold. 

Great with toasted (leftover) pita wedges, over roasted lamb, or chicken this is a great all-purpose sauce, and you can even use it to dip your favorite veggies.  

Dr. C. had fresh tomatoes on his, I'm allergic to fresh tomatoes (but not cooked---go figure) so this one was mine, his was half-way finished by the time I got the camera out!  
Hope you all have a terrific weekend; I'm into phase two of my quest for the perfect pizza dough--will be back to tell you all about it next week.  Ciao!

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