Several weeks ago, David and I visited a local eatery (Terrace on the Green for you locals) that served delicious traditional gyros, and like many visits to restaurants, we leave craving a menu item for days...so I set out to make chicken gyros at home. The traditional lamb used in Greek restaurants is complicated to prepare at home, but chicken is a suitable alternative!
The following recipe is adapted and combined from two sources...Annie's Eats and Kalyn's Kitchen. Serve these delicious gyros with this Traditional Homemade Hummus I recently posted!
*Please note that both the chicken and tzatziki sauce require being made ahead of time. Read recipe for details.
For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, pressed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 t. red wine vinegar
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping T. plain yogurt
1 T. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or equal amount of chicken tenderloins (if using breasts, butterfly to maximize marinade on surface of chicken)
For the tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. plain Greek yogurt
(you can use regular plain NOT NON-FAT yogurt if Greek is unavailable, but you must strain it the day before...Yogurt Straining tutorial)
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded (see below)
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 t. white wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
For finished gyros:
Flatbread (in deli section next to pita bread)
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Red onion, sliced thin
To prepare chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk together, mixing well. Add the chicken to the mixture, coat well, cover, and allow to sit in refrigerator for one hour. Do not over-marinate...the lemon juice will begin to "cook" the chicken.
Cook the chicken either in oven or in skillet. Oven...bake at 375 degrees until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Skillet...allow a little oil to heat in medium temp skillet. Add chicken and cook until done.
Remove chicken from oven or skillet, allow to cool for a few minutes, and slice into strips.
To prepare tzatziki sauce, peel the cucumber with a potato peeler, slice it longways, and remove seeds with a pointed spoon (like a teaspoon). Picture below.
Chop cucumbers and remove as much water as possible by squeezing with paper towels.
Place the cucumbers, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice in a food processor and process until cucumbers are finely chopped. (You can test salt after mixing with yogurt in next step.) If there is an excess of water, use the corner of a paper towel to soak up a bit more.
Then, combine cucumber mixture with Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt), mixing well. Add salt to taste as desired. Refrigerate for about two hours to allow flavors to mingle.
Heat flatbread in microwave or for a very short time in the toaster. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, chopped tomatoes, and red onion. Serve immediately.
Serve with Traditional Homemade Hummus, pictured below!