I love mediterranean food. It has to be in my bloodline somewhere in the not-so-distant past. Or perhaps I was a Greek/Italian goddess in another life. That makes sense. Fresh and crunchy vegetables that can hold their own are a big part of the mediterranean diet. When I make gyros for my family I do nothing to the vegetables but wash and chop. They’re not cooked in any way and I don’t add anything to them. Thankfully, the girls love hummus and will dip their way through a pound of carrots and cucumbers. They don’t, however, agree that hummus and fresh vegetables constitutes a meal in much the same way that their father, my dear husband, doesn’t believe that a cheese and charcuterie platter is a satisfying meal. My life would be much easier if they all ate like me! They do not all eat like me and for some reason I like to keep them happy so I try to make all our meals to their specifications.
Truth be told, these gyros with all the fixings are only about a step away from being donned “not a meal” but the lot of ’em. I’m not exactly certain about their reasoning or requirements as to what constitutes a satisfying meal. David often says that my preferred meals are snacks. Whatever. It’s all food, and it’s all scrumptious! The first time I served this dinner, Katie said that the meat was okay but not her favorite. Abby didn’t even want to try it. We tortured her by making her try one bite. When I served this up a few days ago, both girls gobbled up their measly two slices of meat and asked for more. Between the two of them, they ate about half the meat in one sitting! I was ecstatic. I kept trying to high five Abby and telling her how excited I was. They looked at me like I was a big weirdo (a common reaction), but then later they each told me, “Sarah, I don’t like the meat… I LOVE it!” and then asked me to make it all the time. Gyros will definitely be part of our regular rotation from now on. I just hope they keep loving it.
Traditionally, gyro meat is roasted on a spit which gives each slice a nice crispy crust. The oven method below is easier for the home cook without a rotisserie, but I kinda want to get a contraption that would help me roast this meat in the more traditional way. I came across ideas for “freeform meatloaf” online a while ago and tried out that technique here with great results. Shaping the mixture into a loaf or log without packing it into a pan will help it obtain somewhat of a crust during baking.
Serve the gyro meat with warm pita bread, romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tzatziki sauce, and hummus. I added some mashed up avocado to mine, but I’m guessing that isn’t very traditional. If this is a regular meal in your family, I would love to hear about your favorite accompaniments in the comments below!
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 small yellow onion, about 200 grams
- 4 large garlic cloves, about 20 grams
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Peel and roughly chop the onions and garlic, place them in a food processor, and pulse to finely chop.
- Add the lamb, oregano, marjoram and salt to the food processor and pulse until everything is combined well and the mixture is smooth.
- Place the meat mixture on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and shape into a log about 2 inches tall and 5 inches wide.
- Cook the meat in the preheated oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 175F, 60-75 minutes.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes and then slice as thin as possible.
After Step 4, I like to place the meat in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (usually overnight) to allow the flavors to marry.