Wednesday, January 28, 2009

gyros at home?

greek lamb-burgers anyone?

If I loved Döner kebabs, I guess I'd be quite happy with the Zürich food scene since there seems to be a Döner stand on every corner. But I don't love them (although the ones at that place on Hohlstrasse near the Altstetten train station are pretty good - do you know about this place too? Seems like everyone does), I love gyros and the only one I found in Zürich was not very good and expensive, my favorite combo. So I tried a home-version recipe from Cook's Illustrated with fairly good results. Basically, you make little greek-flavored lamb-burgers and wrap them up in a pita with tzatziki sauce. It was definitely a tasty dinner, but it didn't quite satisfy my gyros craving. I guess I'll have to try this recipe that involves the more traditional rotisserie method.

another tasty way for my beloved griddle to earn its keep

The real fun was the pitas. I like my pitas soft and puffy and these did not disappoint. I used the Bread Bible recipe this time (below). It was easy except it instructed me to roll out all eight circles and let them rest for 10 mins before cooking them. Um, where am I supposed to put all those rolled out circles??? I improvised counter space with a couple baking pans set on drawers.

Also, I can only fit 2 at a time in the oven, so the other circles are "resting/rising" 5-15 mins longer than the others. This might have been the reason the later pitas didn't puff like the first ones. Not sure. But the ones that puffed, puffed sky-high.

look how tall!

I love the internal structure of my puffed up pitas

this definitely was not a one-pot meal

a little peek at the tornado I left in my wake

was this little sandwich worth all that trouble?

The Tzatziki sauce was the best part. I always want more sauce when I get take out. So at home, I got to eat as much as wanted. I'm happy that Coop now carries this inexpensive greek yogurt. It's just as delicious as that Total brand at 1/4 the price.

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (greek yogurt works best)
1/2 medium cucumber , peeled, seeded, and diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves or dill

Drain the yogurt in a fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towels for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice in colander set over bowl and let stand 30 minutes. Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, and mint in clean bowl.

Lamb Patties

4 pita breads
3/4 cup bread crumbs (use the tops cut off the pita bread or part of one pita bread)
1/2 medium onion, chopped coarse (about 3/4 cup)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Process onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and bread/pita pieces in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl; add lamb and gently mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Gently flatten balls into round disks, about 1/2 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

2. Stack the pitas, wrap tightly in foil, and place in 350F oven for 10 minutes to warm and soften them.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned and crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, reduce heat to medium, and cook until well browned and crust forms on second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer patties to paper towel-lined plate.

4. Spread 1/4 cup Tzatziki Sauce inside each pita. Divide patties evenly among pitas; top each sandwich with tomato slices, shredded lettuce, and feta. Serve immediately.

Pita Bread

Adapted from The Bread Bible

16 ounces AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2 TB olive oil
1.25 cup water, room temperature

Mix all the ingredients together and knead the dough 10 minutes in a stand mixer (longer by hand) until the dough is very soft, smooth and sticky to the touch. It should pass the windowpane test. Rise in oiled bowl until doubled, about 1.5 hours. Preheat oven to 475F one hour before baking. Have oven shelf on lowest level and place baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating. After the dough has risen, cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball and flatten into disks. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick. Let them rest 10 minutes before baking. Quickly place dough circles (as many as will fit comfortably in the oven) directly on the baking stone or sheet and bake for 3 minutes. It should puff but not beginning to brown. Remove the pitas and wrap in a clean towel (or tortilla warmer) to keep them soft and warm. Eat immediately.


Julie Ramsay said...

Looks delicious! Wow what a meal! Worth all the mess!

Alice said...


Astrid said...

Makes me HUNGRY!

Chris said...

Mmmmm...we have some ground lamb in the freezer. I know exactly what to do with it now. My daughter will love the pita bread. She is always asking me to take her to take her "to the place with the puffy breads," a very good, but expensive Lebanese restaurant.

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