Gyro Meat with Tzatziki
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp rosemary, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp paprika
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups greek yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled and grated, tossed with ½ tsp of salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp dill and/or mint
Dried chili powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish (9 x 13 for reference), and line it with parchment paper. Place the ground lamb and beef in a large bowl. Add the ½ diced onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, rosemary, oregano, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, bread crumbs, salt & pepper to taste. Mix until well combined, it should be fairly packed and dense.
Transfer the combined mixture to the baking dish and press it down so that it spreads evenly and extends to the edges. Put it in the oven until nicely browned, around 40 to 45 minutes, or until a thermometer poked into the center reads 160 F. Once it’s out of the oven, cool to room temperature before moving forward.
While the gyro meat cooks in the oven, make the tzatziki sauce. Take your grated, salted cucumber and pick it up with towels or paper towels and squeeze as much water out as you can, changing towels if needed. Then combine the squeeze cucumber with the yogurt. Add the 4 cloves minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, the herbs, and mix it all together. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, and lemon juice to taste. Place the finished tzatziki sauce in the fridge until ready to use.
Take your cooled block of gyro meat and cut it into ⅛ inch strips, cutting in half lengthwise as needed. Cut as much as you need for your current meal, then store the leftover block in the fridge.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a pan. Place your gyro slices into the pan in batches, cooked until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. To serve, combine the gyro meat over flatbread with some tzatziki sauce, pickled onions, and fresh vegetables of your choice. Sprinkling with sumac at the end is also great.
Authentic Greek gyros are usually made with whole cuts of pork and chicken, roasted on a spit and grilled at a high temperature. The outer layer of the stack of meat would brown and be removed in thin layers, producing delicious browned strips. In this recipe, we instead use ground meat and make a sort of meatloaf, which is then cut into thin strips and browned in a pan just before eating. While definitely a different texture, this produces flavorful gyro meat in the home oven. This is combined with a very simple tzatziki sauce that comes together very quickly, perfect to serve with pickled onions and flatbread.