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Gyro:  “turning/to turn” in Greek

We had 2 pounds of ground goat (the one we got from the county fair) left, so we decided to make Gyros with it!  Exciting times…since I’ve always loved ordering Gyros at places that sell it.

Gyros is normally made with ground lamb combined with beef, but goat will be a pretty good substitute.

Alton Brown’s recipe got some pretty good reviews (4 out of 5 stars) and has a pretty good recipe when it comes to meats, so I decided to try his variation of Gyro meat and Tzatziki sauce.   Ideally, it would be fun to be in the kitchen of a Greek mama to watch and take notes, but Alton Brown will do just fine for now.  If you’re curious, you can find a pretty interesting explanation of the origins of this American invention, which is most similar to a “Doner Kebab” from Turkey.  Here’s my adapted version of Alton Brown’s recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
  • 2 pounds ground goat meat
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Directions

    Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

  • Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.

Anyway, here are the 2 pounds of ground goat meat, defrosted and ready to be mixed up.

Ground goat meat

I mixed the 2 pounds of goat meat with the dry spices in the blender (should’ve been a food processor, but since I had none, the blender worked, though not ideally) one small batch at a time.

Dry spices + Blender

The blender that blended meat!

Then, I spread the purreed meat into a loaf pan and made sure to press it in to the sides and place a foil-wrapped brick on top to make sure the meat stays as compact as possible (it’s tight like deli meat).

Brick on meat

Then, I refrigerated this overnight.

The next day 2 hours before dinner time, I took the meat out and (this is the part where I mess up) start baking it.  But, I forgot to put the loaf pan into a water bath!  I baked it just like meat loaf.  I only realize when it’s too late and the loaf is almost done.  So, if you do indeed give this recipe a try, remember:  WATER BATH!  I baked it at 325 for about 70 minutes.

While the meat was baking, I prepared the Tzatziki Sauce.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces plain yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley

Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
(adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe)

The night before, I had also prepped some dough for the pita bread.  That will be in another post; one about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes (that’s where the dough recipe was taken from).

After baking, I took the pan out and let it sit for just a little while to cool enough so that I could drain the excess fat and then slice it. I drained the excess fat into a bowl (to save for cooking other dishes in the future) and turn the loaf out.

Finely sliced gyro meat

Fortunately, it still tasted moist enough and I think that perhaps the fat in the meat helped to retain some of the moisture.  Whatever happened, the meat was still moist and yummy!

Close up

After the meat and sauce were done, I put the fresh pita dough in the oven to bake a few pitas and kept them warm in my tortilla warmer that I bought from Aldi (see prior post), complete with a warming stone!

Meanwhile, I chopped up the tomatoes and onions and set the table.

Voila!  A wonderful dinner that didn’t take too much to make (though prep time was plenty).

Ta-dah! Here's the spread

We had some nice Paisano wine to go with it all!  Yummmm.

What type of ethnic cuisine do you like?

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