Everyone loves Greek food and that includes their very own fast food gyros (γύρος). The word gyros means ‘turn’, the meat is packed onto a vertical spit and grilled as it turns, very similar to the Turkish doner and the shawarmer of the Middle East yet distinctly Greek. Slices of either chicken or pork are wrapped in pita bread with a good dollop of tzatzi, slices of fresh tomato, sweet red onion and a few fries.
Sometimes you want to have the food at home that you’ve enjoyed on holiday and even when you live in Greece it’s good be able to make your own version of the favourites. Here you can buy frozen processed gyros that’s already sliced and you just heat it up, but it’s never appealed to us. Then I discovered this way of grilling meat using skewers that’s so simple and effective.
All you need to do is marinade the meat in the flavours you want. Getting the meat on the skewers is a little fiddly and takes time but is more than worth it. Now the warmer weather is on it’s way we’ll be having a go at cooking it on the BBQ, but for those who want to stay inside here’s how it’s done under the grill.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
For the Marinade
- 4 tbsp olive oil.
- 2 tsp dried oregano.
- 1 tsp dried mint.
- 1 tsp ground cumin.
- 1 tsp paprika.
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
- 1 dash cayenne.
- 1 lemon zest and juice.
- 4 garlic cloves.
- sea salt.
- freshly ground black pepper.
- A one inch deep baking tray.
- Metal skewers slightly longer than the width of the tray.
- 2 tomatoes sliced.
- 1 red onion sliced.
- 4 pitta breads.
- 4tbsp tzatziki.
- 1 lemon cut into wedges.
Place all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly then coat the chicken thighs. Put them in a dish, pour any extra marinade on top and leave, covered, in the fridge for 24hours.
Preheat your grill to it’s highest setting and line a baking pan with foil. Then take your long metal skewers and the chicken thighs, spread the thighs and skewer each side so that each thigh has 2 skewers going through it. I was able to get 4 thighs on each pair of skewers, leaving enough room at either end so that they could balance on top of the baking pan.
Place your chicken under the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes until there are a some crispy edges. Turn the thighs once during cooking and baste it regularly with the juices.
Once done let them rest for a few minutes, then using a pair of kitchen scissors remove from the skewers and cut the chicken into gyros sized slices as you go.
Then serve with tzatziki, slices of tomato, red onion and some pita either wrapped up or on a plate.
You’ll be amazed at the smell while this is cooking, and the mess so don’t forget the foil in your tin.
The flavours can easily be changed up by playing around with the marinade and this method of cooking is also really successful with tandoori style spices in a yoghurt marinade.
We discovered this several months ago, it’s taken a while to share because each time I’ve made this it’s been eaten up before I’ve remembered to get some good pictures, so I’ll be making it again this week and will add the new pictures later!
Let me know if you make your own gyros? What’s your favourite Greek recipe? If you enjoyed this recipe and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you.