For anyone who hasn’t tried gyros (pronounced geer-oss), it is a Greek dish made from meat traditionally cooked on rotisserie – kind of a pork kebab. Tzatziki is a sauce or dip made from yogurt, cucumber and mint, similar to Indian raita. Now, while many people will swear that the best gyros can only be tasted in Greece, I disagree! The best gyros I’ve tasted is from a Greek take away in Yorkshire! Gyros is a tasty treat for an informal boozy supper or something to see you through the footie with a few cans of ale as once the preparation is done, the actual cooking is really quick and low maintenance.
I am going to play fast and loose with this recipe because, for a start, how many of us have a rotisserie? You’ll forgive me when you taste it. If you have a rotisserie, sure, use it; if not, I’ve cooked this in a frying pan, on the grill, a barbecue (of course) and even in the halogen air fryer all with fantastic results.
My favourite gyros has a distinct hint of lemon, which I really love. Though this is not a feature of most gyros recipes, I use lemon in mine. Feel free to zing it up with a bit of chilli, if that floats your boat, but that’s not for me. I like to serve it in a slightly leavened, naan type bread, but flatbread is more traditional, with lettuce and tomato salad and a lavish splodge of fresh and minty tzatziki.
For the Gyros
500gm Diced Pork
1tbsp vegetable oil
2tsp ground paprika
1tsp ground smoked paprika
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
1/2 tsp of lemon oil
Easy-peasy. Place the vegetable oil in a large bowl and first add the lemon oil and give it a bit of a mix so the lemon oil diffuses into the veg oil. Next, add everything else,except the pork, and give it a good old mix. Finally, add the pork and massage the oily mixture into the pork till every piece is thoroughly coated. If the pork dice is quite large, you may want to cut the pieces in half. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate for 3 – 4 hours. You can make your tzatziki while you wait (not that it’s going to take 3 hours to make).
Now, as I’m basically leaving it up to you how to cook it when the time comes, the main idea is to cook it quickly on a fairly high heat until the flesh is cooked through and the edges are starting to char. If you are using a barbecue, this will impart a smoky flavour but, if not, you have the smoked paprika in there to make up for it. Obviously, the smaller the dice, the quicker to cook. You should not need to add any more oil for the cooking as the oil in the marinade will be sufficient.
For the Tzatziki
Half a pint of Greek yogurt
Half a cucumber
2tsp of ready-made mint sauce
½ tsp salt
First of all, peel and grate the cucumber. Spread the grated cucumber evenly on a dinner plate and sprinkle evenly with the salt. Place another dinner plate on top of the grated cucumber and weigh it down with a couple of tins of beans or whatever you have available. This process helps to extract the bitter juices from the cucumber. Leave for around half an hour.
In the meantime, in an appropriately sized bowl, combine the yogurt and mint sauce, mixing thoroughly so the yogurt is smooth and evenly infused with mint sauce. When your cucumber has done its stuff, drain off the liquid that has exuded from the cucumber, making sure you press the plates together tightly as you do this. Add the cucumber to your yogurt mixture. You will probably find that most of the cucumber has stuck to the bottom of the top plate so make sure you scrape it all off. Give it a good mix, cover and store in the fridge for an hour or two until your gyros is ready to serve.
Serve the gyros wrapped in your bread, generously topped with tzatziki and some crisp shredded lettuce and your favourite tomato, chopped.