These sandwiches are definitely a crowd pleaser in my book. Can they even be called sandwiches? I read somewhere that the taco is actually a variation of the gyro. Whatever, they are tasty and without a doubt the great taste is a combination of the garlicky tzatziki sauce with the roasted lamb and mint. In this preparation, I think i minced up 12 cloves of garlic. We like garlic. We simply did not breathe after eating the gyros. Actually, it wasn’t anything that a few Listerine strips couldn’t handle, but oh did they sting!
I remember my first gyro was in a mall in Willow Grove Pennsylvania, oh some 1375 moons ago. Naturally I, as did most everyone else, called them “jy-rows”. It wasn’t until later when my stepfather, who was Greek, corrected me. I think I actually argued the point, but then again, I didn’t like him very much, so the correction was ill received.
I didn’t realize how easy gyros are to make until an episode of Good Eats when Alton made them. He made two varieties, one over a grill on a spit, which I assume is more traditional, and one in a loaf pan. I chose the latter for mine, as I don’t have use of a spit.
2 pounds ground lamb
1 medium onion diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp dried ground rosemary
2 tsp salt
1 ts black pepper
For tzatziki sauce:
16 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
5-7 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used 10 or 11)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
6 mint leaves minced
In a food processor, shred the onion.
Remove the onion and place in a tea towel. Squeeze until most of the juice is out of the onion and return the onion to the processor.
Add the lamb and the spices to the processor.
Process (for a good while) until the lamb is a paste.
Put the lamb into a loaf pan and press to form. Place the lamb in a water bath and pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees-f. I have about 2 cups of water in there.
Bake in the oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, until lamb reaches a temperature of 165-170 degrees.
For the sauce…
Drain the yogurt. I suspended it on a towel over a bowl, but it didn’t give off any liquid. Who knows?
In a towel, squeeze the liquid from the chopped cucumber and place in a mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
Mix to combine. Taste and taste some more.
To serve, slice the lamb thinly. I used an electric knife to make light duty of it. Put meat in a pita, top with tomato, onion, and sauce. This is a great fast food meal, even if it does take about an hour. Now, what to do with that leftover sauce?