Food, Health & Fitness, Recipes

How to make homemade gyros with tzatziki

March 28, 2011

I’m really into Greek/Mediterranean cooking right now because I love the food and because it’s healthy.   Erick and I both have high cholesterol, so we’re really trying to make an effort to eat better.

I used Annie’s Eats recipes for the chicken and pitas and came up with my own for the tzatziki. I basically made three things for this:

  1. Chicken
  2. Tzatziki
  3. Pitas (If you don’t want to make them, you can buy them.  However, for me, there is nowhere around me that I’m aware of that sells the real deal.  Pita is more like flat bread…not like the thin dry pockets that are typically sold here.)

The tzatziki is delicious on everything and healthy. I ended up putting it on my leftover quinoa today as a dressing and on my broccoli.  Also, this marinade is so flavorful and makes the chicken taste delicious.  You could just use the marinade by itself to grill chicken and serve with vegetables this summer.

If you’re going to make all three, it’s best to get started early in the day.  Make the tzatziki and get that in fridge to chill, then make the marinade and get that in the fridge with the chicken, too.  Also, go ahead and chop your tomatoes and slice your onions.  Then, you’ll have time to tackle the pitas.  Later, cooking the chicken only takes about 10 minutes.

For chicken:
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried oregano (Mediterranean if you have it)
Salt and pepper
1 -2  lbs. chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

For tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. of Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt strained, you can also strain Greek yogurt to make thicker, just strain using coffee filter or cheesecloth over a bowl)
1 medium English seedless cucumber
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. olive oil (or less – add a little at a time)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
Lemon juice (optional)

For pitas:
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 packet instant yeast
3 cups flour, plus more as needed
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups warm water
2 tbsp. olive oil

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced (plum ones work well)
Red onion, sliced thin
Tzatziki sauce
Strips of fried potatoes (optional)

To make the tzatziki:

Peel cucumber and and then grate it. Put in colander to drain and ring out with hands.  Mix yogurt and grated cucumber in bowl. Add garlic.  Pour in oil and vinegar alternately mixing.  Add lemon juice and dill if you want. Season to taste and refrigerate before serving.

To make the chicken:

Trim fat from breasts and butterfly. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well.  Add the chicken to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cook the chicken on broiler pan under broiler set to hi.  About 6 minutes each side.  (Or, you could grill it.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.   Cut into strips.

To make pita bread:

This seems like a lot of steps and it takes time, but it isn’t hard.

Mix all dry ingredients in mixer bowl with wooden spoon, then add water and oil.  All of the ingredients should form a ball.  If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Start mixer and mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.  As the dough is mixing, continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky.  (I added a significant amount of flour, so don’t be afraid to keep adding more until you reach the right consistency.)

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil – just pour a little olive oil in the bottom and swirl around. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the dough around so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between ¼ – 1/8″ thick  and 6″ diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently, you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 450°.  You can use a baking stone or large cookie sheet, just preheat it as well.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes.

And, the finished result!

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  • I am so hungry now!!! I am going to try this! well..maybe witht he help of my husband. 🙂

  • ebc

    so, is it a bad sign that when i first saw your title in my blog roll, i thought it said hormones instead of homemade? someone (me!) clearly needs a break/life/brain. anyways….those look amazing!!!! serious kitchen kuddos to you!

  • Liz

    What kind of side effects did you have on Clomid?

  • Wow, this looks fantastic! I’m printing out now…

  • Lisa Mc

    WOW! You made HOMEMADE Pitas!! You’re my hero, Whitney! ;o) This looks awesome and perfect for warm weather dining! xoxo