Friday, June 22, 2012

Gringo Gyros- A search for the best method.

         Gringo Gyros- served Chicago Style with fresh chopped Thai-basil

I have tried maybe a dozen different recipes for homemade pitas.No luck.
I've decided the problem is the cook. I haven't given up though.
I have been sitting on this recipe for Gyros several years, waiting until the day when my pitas finally puff.
Finally I have decided to use flour tortillas, I really love those things. I'm always looking for an excuse to use them.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe I had. I did a little research before I began, and found a couple of different techniques I'll try. (kneading the loaf, baking in a water-bath and finishing one of the loaves on the grill) This makes a lot, but the lady who gave me the recipe, told me that you can freeze the leftovers.

2lbs. ground lamb
2lbs. ground chuck
1cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2Tbl. minced garlic
1-1/2Tbl. oregano
1Tbl. basil
1Tbl. onion powder
1/2Tbl. red wine vinegar
1tsp. cinnamon
1/2tsp. cumin pepper
1tbl. salt

You'll also need:
Flour tortillas
diced tomatoes
1 recipe Tzatziki sauce
Fresh chopped basil- I prefer Thai basil

Pre-heat oven to 350*
 Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead for at least 5 minutes.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a metal baking pan, shape into elongated loaves, about 3inches high.
Place the baking pan inside a larger pan, fill the larger pan with water, until the smaller pan is 1/2 to 2/3 submersed.
Bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, remove the loaf pan from the water-bath and cool.
Heat the grill, setting it on a low flame, pre-heat to 300*
Place the loaves on the grill, (not directly on the flame) cook about 15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes.
Cool completely before slicing.
Slice across the top of the loaf, I used a fillet knife, slicing as thin as possible.
Warm the tortillas on a griddle. Fill with the sliced loaves, Tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and basil.

            The first loaf I baked like a meatloaf, except longer and thinner.
I pulled it out after 1 hour 15 minutes, The juices were not clear but, I started to see signs of browning. I'll cool it, and finish it on the grill.

Water-bath method: The second loaf,  I decided to cook in a bundt pan, I don't know why... I just do these things sometimes. If it works out for the better, I'll call it a stroke of genius, if not... I'll blame it on hormones. I filled it enough to submerse 2/3 of the bundt pan.

Darn these hormones! Ok , apparently the bundt pan is not a good idea. It seems to attract gremlins, that steal chunks of Gyro loaves. But I think I do like the water bath method, I pulled this out after 2 hours. The juices ran clear, no browning and it looked really moist.

 The water-bath method, on the left, sliced beautifully, and had a pressed meat texture. the non water-bath method was grainier and crumbled quite a bit. For the sake of science, I put half of the water-bath loaf on the grill, to see if there was a change in flavor. I'm glad I did. A blind taste test on my family, decided that was the winner.

Normally, I prefer the thin, delicate Azteca brand tortillas, but if I want to come anywhere near the texture of a pita, I would have to use these big, fat, honkin' Mission brand. 16 of these babies, weighs in at 1-3/4 pounds. That's a lotta masa. Warm them in the microwave or on a griddle, before filling.

  Finally, It looks like; knead the loaf, refrigerate overnight, bake in a water-bath, grill on low for 15 minutes. They were really good.


  1. Oh man these were GOOD! I love being a taste tester. :)

    This is Denise by the way lol. I am logged into a different gmail account.