I love gyros.
When I lived in San Francisco, there was a Greek place on the corner at the edge of Golden Gate Park. It’s not that it was good or bad, it’s that it was on the edge of the park. I’d find myself walking through the park with my (now) ex and she’d look at me, and see that glimmer in my eye, and mount a pre-emptive attack.
“No. It’s nine o’clock in the morning. We’re not getting gyros.”
Sometimes I won out, and I’d watch as they sliced long pieces of delicious mystery meat from the slowly spinning vertical spit, seared it on the flat top, topped it with what amounted to am abbreviated greek salad, and sent me on my way – usually to sit on one of the benches at the band shell in front of the museum – where I could enjoy my delicious sandwich while watching our elderly Chinese neighbors do Tai Chi with ornate swords.
I’ve spent years messing about with gyro analogs, and of course especially with chicken thigh recipes. Most of them have been some variation on “marinate the chicken, grill it, slice it” and the results haven’t been that different than the Mediterranean Chicken Skewers recipe you’ll find elsewhere on this site. But recently, while developing the recipe for the admittedly absurd Not-a-rib, I realized there was nothing stopping me from making a sliceable seasoned meat just like gyro meat. So that’s what this is. Chicken Thigh Gyros that aren’t just a few bits of grilled chicken on a pita.
We’ll use a food processor to create a heavily seasoned ground chicken that we’ll bake in small loaf pans to create a sliceable meat that we can griddle to brown and crisp. Along with homemade sauce and homemade flat breads, it makes a great chicken “gyro” that has the texture – and a lot of the flavor – of the lamb and beef based sandwiches I remember from that corner shop. Even if the experience doesn’t include the sword wielding neighbors.
Chicken Thigh GyrosCourse: Main, SnacksCuisine: Greek, American, MediterraneanDifficulty: Medium
Chicken thigh gyros.
- Chicken Thigh Gyro Meat
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp of cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups AP flour
1 ½ cups warm water
2 ½ tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- Mediterranean White Sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Greek-style yogurt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 medium tomato
1 small red onion
2 cups cut lettuce
1 cup sliced cucumber
- Prepare The Gyro Meat**
- Preheat your oven to 300°F
- Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Add the chicken, all spices, and the breadcrumbs to the container of a food processor and process until smooth. If necessary, to create an even grind, add a couple tablespoons of water.
- Pack the ground meat/spice mixture into small loaf pans.
- Bang the pan on the counter a few times to help collapse any air bubbles.
- Bake at 300°F for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the pans and allow to cool.
- Wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Add the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.
- Add the oil and flour and turn on the mixer.
- Add the salt and process until a smooth dough has formed and the dough has pulled away from the bowl, about 5 minutes.
- Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Punch down and divide in to 6 pieces.
- Roll the pieces into balls.
- Heat a thick cast iron griddle, comal, or very large pan over medium heat.
- Using well-floured hands and surfaces, roll and stretch each ball into a ~10-inch circle.
- Grill the breads. When bubbles form on the surface, turn.
- Cook until lightly speckled and cooked thought.
- Cover with a towel until cool.
- White Sauce
- Whisk all ingredients together.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
- To finish
- Cut very thin slices off the loaf of meat.
- Sear/griddle the meat slices in a tiny bit of olive oil over high heat until warmed through and slightly browned/crisped around the edges.
- Warm a piece of flatbread in a pan or in the microwave (20 seconds on high)
- Add the meat to the center of the flatbread.
- Top with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and a drizzle of white sauce.
- Partially wrap in foil.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!