Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gyros with Apple Tzatziki

I had this great plan to make gyros and tzatziki this weekend... and for a minute, it looked like it was a disaster.  But as history has proven, necessity is the mother of invention and what I thought was a problem turned into awesomeness. 

I grew up in the Chicago area where gyro stands are everywhere and I love them.  Where we live now, in Humboldt, there's only one gyro place and it's a 15 minute drive each way.  They don't load them up as much as they do in Chicago and so while they're decent, I always feel a little gypped.  So I decided to make some gyros here at home.  I hastily made the grocery list while I was at work; I couldn't check to see what we had on hand at home.  When I went to make everything today, I realized the cucumbers I'd been counting on to use in the tzatziki had gone bad, so I had no cucs.  We always have at least one onion on hand, but it seems this time was an exception.  And I thought we had some leftover basil, but turns out we didn't.  So a lot of my main ingredients were missing and Justin is gone for the weekend with our only car, so I had no way to get to the store. 

Instead, I decided to try shredded apple in the tzatziki sauce and I was pretty much counting on not liking it as much as the classic cucumber.  I was wrong.  It came out awesome!  Good crunch and just a slight sweetness at the end.  Lacking fresh onion for my gyro loaf, I used some dried shallot, dried chive, and onion powder.  And though I had no basil (fresh or dried), I did have fresh mint and decided to load the loaf up with a ton of herbs and spices!  Sooooo good! I know there's like 25 ingredients in the gyros; we use what we have on hand.  But I recognize most people don't have the spice and herb collection we do, so I made sure to add an alternative.  Don't let it intimidate you!

While I typed this whole post out, I listened to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" a few times on repeat.  I love this song so much.  So rad.  And the retro 70s detective theme isn't so bad either.  -jen

Prep Time:  1.5 hours
Cook Time:  about 1.5 hours
Difficulty:  Easy
Serves:  4-6
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons dried shallots
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives (or half an onion chopped fine in food processor in place of shallots and chives)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • *1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • *1 teaspoon ground dried lemon grass
  • *1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • *1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • *1 teaspoon ground dried rosemary
  • *1 teaspoon tarragon
  • *1 teaspoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*If you don't have all of these herbs, you could replace the 7 teaspoons of herbs with 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning.  Or 7 teaspoons of whatever combination you may have on hand.
In a large food processor, pulse old fashioned oats until they're about half their size.  Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor and process about one minute until meat mixture feels tacky. 

Place meat into a large bowl and cover meat with plastic wrap (not top of bowl, but place the plastic
wrap on the meat itself) and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pack meat mixture into a  7"x4" loaf pan, pressing it down well to eliminate any air bubbles.  Place a damp kitchen towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Place the loaf pan on top of the damp towel and carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes 1/2 way up the sides of the loaf pan. 

Bake until inner temperature reaches 160 degrees F, about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Remove loaf pan from roasting pan and carefully pour off accumulated fat.  Cool slightly before slicing thinly.  Brown slices either in a non-stick skillet on medium-high or place in oven or toaster oven broiler until browned.  Serve on a pita with lettuce or cabbage, onion, tomato and Apple Tzatziki sauce.

Prep Time:  40 minutes minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  almost 3 cups
  • 1 small red apple, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 and 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Shred apple.  Place shredded apple in a fine colander over an empty bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.  Once coated with lemon juice, toss again with teaspoon of the salt.  Allow to drain for 30-60 minutes.

Place shredded apple in  some cheese cloth or a clean tea towel and squeeze out remaining juice.  In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the shredded apple with the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and all the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Can be served immediately but the flavours merry better if you refrigerate for an hour or more.