Some of the best gyros I’ve ever tasted were from our time in Detroit and Kansas City. We moved to from Albuquerque to Detroit in 1990 where I got to see where Joe grew up in the great state of Michigan. At that time we had two little boys under the age of 3 years old and didn’t get to eat out much. One time Joe surprised me with tickets to go see the Detroit Red Wings play hockey. Growing up in New Mexico I knew nothing about hockey but the experience was thrilling and I immediately became a fan. Joe Louis Arena was located downtown and we would park and ride the people mover transportations rails to get to the arena. Greektown which had some amazing food was located on one of the people mover stops so we would park there and grab a bite to eat before heading over to the game. If you are ever in Detroit and need a great place to eat, visit Olga’s Kitchen or any one of the great restaurants in Greektown. We also had some great Greek food in Kansas City. I loved the gyros at Mr. Gyros which was one of our frequent haunts in KC. One thing about Mr. Gyros is that the servings are huge and everything tastes fresh. This year has been challenging at best to find those those “little known” restaurants here in Albuquerque, especially not being able to sit down and experience a meal indoors. We rarely go out except for takeout and I haven’t found a great Greek restaurant yet to recommend here in ABQ. I’m sure it’s out there, I just haven’t found it! Sorry for the long story but I have been craving a gyro which always brings back memories. I went with grilled chicken gyros which tasted so good with homemade warm flat breads wrapped around Greek and lemon seasoned chicken. The marinade made the chicken tender and juicy. With some tzatziki sauce and freshly sliced tomato and red onion it was one of the tastiest wraps I’ve ever had. I’m a tough critic when it comes to gyros and this one is one of the best!
I’ve posted my flatbread recipe before but it’s been a long time so here’s an updated version. You’ll need to get your yeast activated with some salt, sugar, yeast, water and olive oil. If you don’t have a stand mixer and want to make flatbreads by hand here is a link to my older recipe for making “flatbreads” .
Now it’s time to add the flour mix. It’s a mixture of self rising flour, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Add about half of the flour mix in to the bowl and stir until combined. Add the rest and mix using your dough hook on low until all the flours have been incorporated and pulls away from the bowl.
Heat a comal or skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot place a rolled out piece of dough on the surface and let it begin to cook. It should form air bubbles as it cooks and begin to rise. When it’s beginning to brown on the bottom, flip the flatbread over to cook another minute or so. As you cook them some residual flour may remain in the skillet, wipe the burned flour out of the pan before placing the next flatbread. Also you may need to turn the heat down if they start to cook too quickly. They can burn but if you regulate the heat they will turn out perfect. Let the flatbreads cool and then place in a zip lock bag until ready to use. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
I used boneless chicken thigh meat but you can use breast meat too. You’ll need some Greek seasoning and lemon juice. I use Penzey”s Greek seasoning which includes salt, oregano, garlic, lemon peel, black pepper and marjoram.
If needed, warm a flatbread in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds. Lay flat on a large sheet of aluminum foil and spread a small smear of tzatziki sauce. Top with grilled chicken and add a dollop more of tzatziki sauce. Top with sliced tomato and onion. Serve along side oven fries.
2 Flatbreads, recipe follows
2 large Chicken Thighs, sliced into strips
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (I used Penzey’s Greek Seasoning)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Tzatziki Sauce, recipe follows
Red Onion, sliced thin
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 pkg Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, yeast, honey, salt, sugar and olive oil. Let sit while the yeast activates and starts to bubble and foam. In another large bowl, mix together the flours. Add about half of the flour mix to the bowl and stir until the flour has been incorporated. Add the remaining flour and using a dough hook, knead the dough on low speed until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the bowl forming a ball. Place the dough in a warm place to rise and cover with a tea towel. It may take 30 minutes to an hour to rise and double in size. When the dough is ready, place on a well floured surface and knead the dough into a large disk. Use a pastry cutter to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and roll out thin to 8 – 10 inches. You may need to sprinkle the dough with a bit of flour it it becomes sticky while rolling.
Heat a large comal or skillet over medium high heat. Lay the flatbread on the comal as it begins to form air bubbles. When the dough has begun to brown on the bottom, flip over to cook the other side a minute or so more. You may need to wipe the comal with a paper towel between cooking the flatbreads if any excess flour is left behind. Any excess flour will burn and your next flatbread will appear burned instead of browned. Transfer to a cooling plate. Let cool completely before transferring flatbreads to a zip lock bag. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
1 cup Whole Greek Yogurt
1/2 large Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt, for cucumbers
1 clove Garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoons Dry Dill Weed
1/2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Peel and seed cucumbers. Cut cucumbers into smaller pieces. Place in a strainer and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of coarse Sea Salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to draw out any additional liquid. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
Place cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice and dill weed into a food processor and process until well blended. Drain any excess liquid. Stir cucumber mixture into the Greek yogurt and blend well. Taste and salt if needed.
Cover sauce and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
To prepare chicken: Place your sliced chicken in a medium bowl and sprinkle with Greek seasoning and lemon juice. Mix well so that all the chicken is saturated in the lemon juice and seasonings. Let marinate 30 minutes or more. Skewer the chicken to resemble a ribbon. Lightly sprinkle with Greek seasoning and drizzle with olive oil. Grill over high heat approximately 7 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked throughout.
To assemble gyros: If flatbreads are cold, warm in the microwave for 30 seconds so that it is warm, soft and pliable. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil. Lay the warm flatbread on top. Add a smear of tzatziki sauce, followed by the chicken and a dollop of tzatziki sauce. Top with sliced tomato and onion. Fold the bottom of the flatbread up and both sides in to cradle your meat and toppings. Roll aluminum foil around it to hold sandwich style. Serve with homemade Oven Fries.
This recipe makes 2 gyros. Add one large chicken thigh per gyro and adjust toppings accordingly.
Other ideas for flatbreads : Personal pizza, Gordita stuffed with seasoned ground beef, chicken or steak, cut into triangles and fried for pita chips to be used for Greek nachos or Greek dip, or soak flatbread in egg and milk bath to make flatbread french toast.