Lamb is a meat often found in Greek cooking, but you can easily substitute ground beef or ground turkey for this recipe and still retain similar flavors. The ground meat is mixed with garlic, onion, oregano and bacon (yes, bacon!) and then formed into a loaf similar to meatloaf. After baking the loaf is sliced and the pieces broiled to crisp up the edges. Fill a pita with a slice, or two, of the meat, some cool and crunchy tzatziki, tomato and sliced onion.
- For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- 16 ounces plain full fat Greek 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
- 5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced
- For the Gyro Meat:
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- ½ yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 ounces slab bacon (or 5 slices sliced bacon), cut into ½-inch pieces
- Serve with:
- Pocketless pita bread or naan bread
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Tomato, coarsely chopped
- Yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Thinly sliced red and yellow bell pepper
- Crumbled feta
To make the Tzatziki sauce
Place cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes. This step helps get most of the water out of the cucumber, so the tzatziki will be lovely and creamy and not watery.
In a small bowl, add the cucumber and the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This gives the flavors a chance to really come alive.
Make the Gyro Meat
In a medium bowl, combine the ground lamb, salt, pepper and oregano leaves with your hands, mixing until all of the seasonings have been evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place the lamb mixture in the bowl of a food processor and add the onion, garlic and bacon. Process until a smooth puree is formed, 30 seconds to 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. With moistened hands, shape the lamb mixture into a rectangle about 8 inches long and 5 inches wide. Bake until the center of the loaf reaches 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Adjust the oven rack to the highest position (1½ to 2 inches below broiler element) and preheat broiler. Slice the loaf of lamb meat crosswise into very thin pieces (they should be about ⅛-inch thick; no more than ¼-inch thick). Lay the strips on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil until edges are browned and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes. (I did this in two batches, as I couldn’t fit all of the sliced meat on one baking sheet.) Be sure to keep an eye on it, as the broiler works quickly!
Serve the Gyros: Warm up the bread either in the microwave (30 seconds), on the stovetop or in the oven. Top each with ¼ cup of tzatziki sauce, chopped tomatoes, sliced onions and gyro meat. Wrap with foil and serve.