This is another recipe that I’ve been holding onto for a little while… it’s from the October 2008 issue of Family Fun magazine. I was inspired to finally try it by a package of ground lamb that I picked up at Balance Rock Farm. I knew this would appeal to my husband because he loves good takeout Gyros. This recipe is certainly not the same as a takeout Gryo which usually an enormous amount of minced lamb or beef that has been pressed into a cone and cooked on a spit. It shares much of the same flavors and was a quick and easy dinner.

My kids go through phases when they are very willing to try new foods lately. Usually one will try and the other won’t and that was the case for these Gyros. My daughter did not hesitate for a second before declaring that she would be having cereal but my son replied “Sure” when I asked him if he wanted to try Gyros.

Gyros

(from Family Fun Magazine, October 2008)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 lbs ground lamb
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Pita bread, cut in half to form pockets
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Tzatziki (recipe follows)
  • Fresh mint leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and let it cool.

Add the lamb, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, cumin, salt, and pepper to onion mixture and mix well. Form the meat into 8 thin patties, each about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb patties and cook for about 5 minutes or until the juices run clear, flipping patties halfway through.

Fill each pita pocket with a meat patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, tzatziki and mint leaves, if desired. Makes 8 gyros.

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber (like an English cucumber), peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Grate the cucumber and place it in a strainer. Squeeze the cucumber to release some of its liquid. Place the yogurt in a bowl, add the cucumber and the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Makes a little more than 1 cup.

While I expected my husband to like this recipe he didn’t. He rated it only  2 stars and actually asked that I not make them again. I personally rate this recipe  4 stars because I really enjoyed the fresh flavors of the tzatziki with the lamb. My son, E, commented to me as he was asking for his third helping of lamb that he “didn’t like gyros… he LOVED them” so his rating is  5 stars. He even asked me to make them again that same week.  We had extra tzatziki and used it as a dip for chips.

I could easily see this made using ground beef or ground chicken and using the grill to cook the patties. My plan for the next time I make this will be to make the patties ahead of time and just assemble the Gyros for dinner after heating the patties in the microwave.

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