Whether from a vendor on the streets of New York City or from a takeout counter in Monastiraki Square in Athens, Greece, my family loves to eat gyros. Delicious memories of warm circles of pita bread wrapped around flavorful slices of meat, tomatoes, onions and french fries, drizzled with a wonderfully refreshing Tzatziki sauce, prompted me to search for a homemade version. Normally gyro meat is slow-roasted on a vertical spit, but this recipe simplifies that by baking the meat in a loaf pan. Then, after some time in the refrigerator, the meat is thinly sliced and pan fried or grilled to give it a crispy texture – as if it’d been on a rotisserie for hours. A platter of gyro fixings would make for a fun family dinner or make great Super Bowl party fare.
Favorite Meat Loaf Gyros
Recipe from Taste of Home
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 whole pita breads
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
16 slices tomato
8 slices sweet onion, halved
1. In a large bowl, combine the egg, garlic, oregano, kosher salt and pepper. Crumble lamb and beef over mixture; mix well.
2. Pat into an ungreased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160°.
4. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
5. For sauce, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
6. Brush pita breads with 1 tablespoon oil; heat on a lightly greased griddle for 1 minute on each side. Keep warm.
7. Cut meat loaf into very thin slices. In a large skillet, fry meat loaf in remaining oil in batches until crisp.
8. On each pita bread, layer the tomato, onion and meat loaf slices; top with some Tzatziki sauce. Carefully fold pitas in half. Serve with remaining sauce.
Yield: 8 servings.
1. This was an easy recipe, but it does require some planning ahead. The meat loaf needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours to allow it to be firm enough to slice into thin slices.
2. Although the meat was flavorful, it seemed a tad dry to me. The next time I try this recipe, I will chop my own beef and lamb, so that the mixture is more coarse – resulting in better flavor and texture. I’d also like to try making other meat versions of gyros. Here are links to other versions to try:
3. The next time I’ll also experiment by adding chopped onions, ground rosemary, and ground thyme to the meat mixture.
4. I fried the meat slices in a nonstick frying pan, so no additional oil was needed.
5. I doubled the recipe and gave some to my son and daughter-in-law, so they’d have one less dinner to cook during the week!