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1. 20. 10 / rosemarried

(organic) chicken gyros with tzatziki

As I mentioned in my “op ed” piece on the problem of meat, I made (organic) chicken gyros a little while back. Free-range and organic chicken is still relatively inexpensive in comparison to other meats (especially at Trader Joe’s) – and we were having a few friends over – so it seemed to be an appropriate time to splurge and buy meat.

You have to pay attention while shopping in Trader Joe’s, however, because not all of their meat is actually organic. A lot of their products are labeled as “natural”. The term natural can mean a lot of things, and it is not a term that is regulated by the FDA. All of the large and factory farmed meat companies also will make claims about their meat being natural, and so its hard to know who is telling the truth. This is why, unless I know the actual farm the meat is coming from (i.e. a local meat purveyor) – I just stick to buying certified organic. Its safer that way.

But, I digress. And, no, I won’t keep up my preaching. Just know that if I’m cooking meat, I’m cooking meat from happy & healthy animals (or at least, I’m trying to).

Back to the subject at hand: Gyros. I have been craving various ethnic foods lately (Mediterreanean, Mexican, Indian, Thai, etc) and I’ve come to realize that as much as I love Portland, they’ve got nothing on Los Angeles when it comes to ethnic food. I’ll admit it, I was spoiled for those 6 years I lived in LA. I can’t find a good burrito here to save my life. When it comes to food – and varieties of food – Los Angeles has the upper hand.

However, I am sure Portland has some great ethnic restaurants. I just haven’t discovered them yet (and, no. Por Que No, Pepinos, and Cha!Cha!Cha! do NOT count as Mexican food). And, sometimes a girl just has a hankering for a certain kind of food. Last week I craved gyros. Specifically, I just wanted to eat something doused in Tzatziki. So I decided to make it for myself. The end result: mouth watering, garlicky, doused in tzatziki, home-made gyros. My craving was satisfied. This recipe is really quite simple, and would be easy to modify. For those of you who enjoy a little spice, I recommend throwing your favorite hot sauce (Tapatio, Chalula, etc) on the gyro. You end up with spicy, heavenly, yogurty, Greek goodness.

Chicken Gyros with (home-made) Tzatziki

Tzatziki
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 16 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Shred or chop the cucumber ito a very small dice (I used a food processor). Wrap in a towel and squeeze, to remove any excess water. Mix together the cucumber, yogurt, miced garlic (I also used the food processor to chop the garlic), vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle olive oil lightly over the top. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour before serving, to allow the flavors to meld together.

Chicken Gyros
1 – 2 pounds of chicken – mix of white and dark meat (I used breasts and thighs)
2 heaping tablespoons of plain greek yogurt
4 garlic cloves, smashed
The juice of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper
1.5 tsps of dried Oregano
2 tsps red wine vinegar
Olive Oil

For the gyro assembly:
Flat bread or pita (I use the Mediterreanean Flat Bread from Trader Joes)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 – 2 tomatoes – diced
Tahini Sauce (I bought pre-made tahini from Trader Joes)

To prepare the chicken: Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper, oregano, and red wine vinegar. Pour this mixture over your chicken pieces, cover, and let sit in the fridge for an hour.

When the chicken has marinated, transfer to a baking dish (I drizzled olive oil in the baking dish first) and bake for approx 15 – 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Be careful not to overcook your chicken, and oven times and temps may vary (depending on the amounts and sizes of your chicken pieces).

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after removing from the oven. Chop into bite sized pieces, and serve immediately in flat bread with tzatziki, tomato, red onion, tahini, and hot sauce (if you so desire).
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