I am in love with gyros (yee-ros, and roll that R!). I am not so much in love with JY-rohs. Sorry, I had to. ;)
Tender, flavorful lamb, garlicky tzatziki sauce, warm pita, tomatoes and (sometimes) onions…what more could you ask for? Chicago is a mecca of the gyro and yet, I find I don’t get to eat them all that often. It’s a shame, really. When I do find a place with a great gyro, though, you’d be hardpressed to keep me away. I used to eat them quite a bit at my family’s restaurants (yes, that’s plural; everyone in my family works in a restaurant. We fit the stereotype.), but I find that now I tend to gravitate toward the chicken gyro, at least occasionally, as a lighter option when I go back to Michigan.
I was fortunate enough to find a new market (well, it’s new to me, not new to others) relatively nearby that has a lot of Greek food items I can’t find anywhere but Greektown. Greektown is a major pain in my arse to get to, but this place (HarvesTime, for all you Chicagoans), thankfully, isn’t. I was so happy to procure some Greek pitas there that I was inspired to make some chicken gyros at home. Traditional Greek pitas are pocketless and pliable, not like most of the stuff that has a pocket and is tiresome to chew that you normally pick up at the grocery store.
This is pretty similar to my shish kabob recipe but I use some plain yogurt in place of some of the oil in order to keep it moist and light. If you can’t grill, a broiler is a great substitution. I use mine ALL the time.
1.25 lbs. chicken pieces (I used breast this time, but I also love using thighs, or a combo)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup tzatziki
sliced onions (I use red as they are the only kind I like raw)
4 (pocketless) pitas
Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
Preheat the broiler (or grill, or pan on the stove). Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
Meanwhile, heat your pitas. I have a gas stove, so I just spray them with a little bit of oil and stick them right on the burner for a few seconds per side. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions. Roll up and eat!
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