Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken Gyros

When we lived in Houston, one of our favorite places to eat was a Greek place called Niko Niko's. The parking situation was atrocious, and quite often, there was a line out the door. The reason for the line out the door was obviously the food, and you could see all kinds of people in that line waiting for a piping hot plate of gyros or spanakopita. However, I tend to find the food at Greek restaurants on the oily side, so when I found this recipe, I looked forward to making it at home.

After Joe's first bite of the chicken, he wailed, "How come this is the first time you've made this?" It was definitely a hit. Joe devoured the chicken, and I ate the rest of the tzatziki sauce and pitas for lunch the next day. A tip that I got from Annie regarding the cucumber: shred it in your food processor, and then wrap it in paper towels to squeeze the liquid out. It works like a dream. My garlic press also got some use!

Chicken Gyros
source: Elly Says Opa via Annie's Eats

For the tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible) (I used Greek yogurt.)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible. (Not necessary if using Greek yogurt.)

Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, 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 pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (We grilled them.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips.

Heat pitas (I wrapped them in some paper towels and microwaved them). Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.


Hilary said...

These sound wonderful, I think I even have most of the ingredients at home right now, bonus! And I look for any excuse to use my food processor :)

Evelyn said...

I like to make tzatziki the day before I'm going to use it because the cucumber and garlic flavors really infuse the yogurt if you let it sit overnight. Delicious!

That Girl said...

I've never had a chicken gyro - I always stick to the plain ole regular ones!

Erin said...

I've made homemade tzatziki before! So good! These look yummy!

Anonymous said...

So glad you liked them!

Karine said...

It looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

USA Kiwi (aka Kylee) said...

I actually made this using my laptop on the kitchen table, and your blog on the screen.

That marinade is out of this WORLD!

I did add some shredded mint to the tzatziki, but that's because that's how I've always made it.

We put some homemade hummus on the bread first, too.

Phenomenal recipe - pleased my husband, and two young guests who are notoriously picky eaters.

Yay - thanks for posting it.