"This just tastes like normal gyro meat," my niece said.
Oh, thank god, I thought. I had been fretting more than usual about making gyros. Apparently, without the use of a rotisserie, gyros are a tricky wicket to make at home. So tricky, in fact, that Serious Eats has a whole scientific food lab entry about it. Since I was making these for company (naturally--when do I ever not try something complicated and potentially disastrous for company?), the stakes were high. And children really are the most honest and terrifying judges. So, it was with great relief that I accepted Sophie's commentary.
And then there was this....all that was left after we descended like locusts upon our dinner:
1 1/2 pieces of gyro meat. Out of two pounds. That's how you know it was good.
How could it not be good with three types of meat? All that fatty, salty, spiced meat, sprinkled with crisp onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, smothered in soothing tzatziki, and blanketed in soft, chewy homemade pita? It's impossible to not wolf it down like your life depends on it.
It was so good that my sister in law had to take her son's second gyro away from him, lest it come right back up.
These gyros are "I'm willing to upchuck to keep eating this"-good.
Gyros (modified from Serious Eats, who really did all the heavy lifting)
-1 lb. ground lamb
-1 lb. ground beef
-4 teaspoons kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
-1/2 tablespoon paprika
-1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
-1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
-1 onion, cut into 1" chunks
-2 cloves garlic, sliced
-10 slices good quality bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1. Combine lamb, beef, and all spices in a medium bowl. Mix with hands until homogeneous. Cover and refrigerate as long as possible, up to overnight. The longer you refrigerate it, the better it will stick together.
2. When ready, preheat oven to 300 with oven rack in the middle. You will need to divide the meat, onion, garlic, and bacon into fourths for a normal size food processor. Put 1/4 meat, onion, garlic, and bacon into the food processor at a time, and puree about 30-60 seconds until smooth. Scrape the sides and puree more if necessary. Put into a bowl and continue processing until all of the meat is done
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil. Form the meat into two rectangles about 1 1/2" high, 8" long, and about 4-5" wide. The height is what matters most here, so the length and width can vary a bit, depending on what's necessary. Bake until the center of each registers 155 F. You may need to rotate the baking sheet occasionally to ensure even browning. If you're like me, you may also need to jack the temperature up to 350 to eat sooner.
4. Remove the meat from the oven, pour off any liquids, and let sit for 15 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Cut the meat crosswise into 4-5"x1/2" slices. Lay slices back on the foil-rimmed sheet. You will need to do this in 2 batches. Broil the slices for 2-3 minutes, until crispy on the edges. Serve as soon as possible with warm pita bread, tzatziki sauce, raw sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
-1 cup greek yogurt
-1 cucumber, peeeled, seeded and finely chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves (I used chocolate mint! Yum!)
-Salt to taste
-Black pepper to taste
1. Mix together, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
-Entire recipe serves 6-8 people. In our case, it was 6 very hungry people. :)