New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CrockPot Gyro Recipe


Day 205.

A hundred million years ago, my very first job was working at the Zoo, in the education department. I loved that job---I loved the people, the work, the animals, speaking to the public, and the food.

I really loved the food.

I think I spent pretty much every dollar I made going to the different hole-in-the-wall restaurants ordering food I had never before heard of that were within walking distance. Directly across the street was a Gyro stand. A bunch of us would run across the street and order gyros (in our uniforms; boy I hope we washed our hands first) and stand in an insane line to order and then eat our gyros while we walked back to work.

I know we pronounced them wrong when we went to order. Nobody cared. That was nice.

We had these last night for Adam's birthday; he turned 24. again.

I followed the fantastic recipe online by
Sarah Christine Bolton, the Savvy Slow Cooker of CDKitchen. Sarah knows her stuff---I recommend spending some time checking out her recipes.

The Ingredients.

For the gyro meat:

--1/2 pound ground lamb
--1/2 pound ground turkey
--2 t oregano
--1 t paprika

--1/2 chopped onion
--3 cloves minced garlic
--juice from 1 lemon

For the Tzatziki sauce (optional, but not really):

--1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
--1 cup plain non fat yogurt
--1 T olive oil
--3 cloves minced garlic
--2 T chopped fresh mint
--juice from 1 lemon

Extra stuff (optional. for reals.):

--pita bread (but we used corn tortillas)
--lettuce
--tomatoes
--feta cheese
--olives

The Directions.

Don't freak out about the number of ingredients. This comes together very quickly. I promise. Chop up the onion, and 3 cloves of garlic, and put them in the bottom of your crockpot. In a small mixing bowl, combine the two kinds of ground meat with the paprika and oregano. If your spices don't have a fresh smell anymore, or if you think they may have been purchased in the 90s, consider buying fresh bottles for this dish.

Make a little meatloaf with your hands. Put the meatloaf log on top of the chopped onion and garlic in your crockpot. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the top of the meat.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, or on HIGH for about 2.

I, um, forgot to plug in the crockpot until 2pm yesterday and cooked this on high for exactly 2 hours.

It worked!

While you are waiting for the meat to cook, make up a batch of the yummy Tzatziki sauce and put it in the fridge.

You will know when the meat is done, because it will not be raw when you cut into it. This is all so very technical, you know.

Carefully! remove the meat from the crockpot and slice it thinly on a cutting board.

Serve it with pitas (or corn or brown rice tortillas) with the Tzatziki sauce and whatever desired fixings you have chosen.

The Verdict.

I loved making these! I hadn't used garlic and onion just as a flavor infuser before, and was really excited to learn a new trick. This is not greasy, and the flavor was good. It was not the same as how I remember the gyros from across the street at the Zoo, but close enough that I would definitely make them again. I remember a lot more grease, and a lot more salt. and since I'm not sixteen anymore, I'm no longer interested in that, anyhow.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your Slow Cooking Savvies.
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49 comments:

Deb said...

OOO! I can't wait to try this recipe! I have actually never cooked lamb before so this will be a good starter I think.

Stephanie said...

I've never cooked with lamb either. I'll definitely try thins too!

Anonymous said...

OMG, I made your Macaroni and Cheese last night and it was divine. I am going to the store tonight and getting lamb. I haven't had a Gyro in a long time. I can't wait! Brigett'
LadyStyx427@yahoo.com

joannabanana said...

I had no idea that I've been pronouncing "gyro" the wrong way my entire life! That's a wake up call. All those years of attending the Greek Foods Festival were a lie. haha

Anonymous said...

This sounds great! I was thinking they would be great with the new Trader Joe's brown rice tortillas, have you seen them? They are large like flour tortillas and taste great! Its always fun to find new gluten free things. By the way, I love your blog and love it even more because I'm not the only person out there that knows what it means to cook gluten free!
Thanks so much! Nicole, zbrown4@cox.net

linda said...

Oh this is going on the menu for next week.. We are planning on purchasing some lamb meat this weekend from a local farmer.. Thanks for the recipe..

capello said...

yum! i am totally making this.

(but with my own tzatziki sauce, i'm nutso for that stuff)

and SOMEONE need to start making gluten-free pita. oh my, do they ever.

Michele said...

Stephanie, your blog and your concept is unbelievable. I'm so glad I stumbled upon you!

I left you an award on my blog-- do with it what you may, but you deserve it!

xoxo

Michele

http://abigcupoftea.blogspot.com/2008/07/smile-award.html

Sarah said...

This sounds super yummy.

And Happy 24th Birthday, Adam.

Again. :)

ohhollyf said...

I luv gyros', but my crock broke this morn'. And, in a moment of silence I blogged about it.
http://allthedaysofmylife-ohhollyf.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy. Going to give this one a try.

BTW: If you don't want to make your own Tzatziki, Trader Joe's sells a really yummy one.

regan said...

I love gyros but have always thought they would be impossible to make at home. Time to dig out the crock pot and give this recipe a try!

nottryingforaboy said...

Looks delicious! I'm going to have to try it out too.

texaskris said...

Thanks so much for the bread help, and one of your readers found me and gave me the link as well. Thank you! I love how we are all in this together.
I started the bread later than I had planned, and then I had to leave... so I cooked it on high about 2.5 hours and low for 2 hours. It turned out GREAT! and my husband, mom, and youngest son LOVED it, said it was the best yet. However, my wheat free guy won't tr y it yet! But thanks for the tip, I am pleased with how easy it was to make and how it turned out!
thanks again.

Graceful Arms said...

You are inspiring me to use my crockpot more!!!!!

conley730 said...

This sounds delicious! We have a Greek food festival every year at a Greek Orthodox church and I always stock up on the gyros then. They're the best. Maybe I can make my own now!

Sophie said...

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cutie pie said...

Yum! This is a keeper for sure. Can't wait to try it.

itsahumanzoo said...

I definitely will have to try this one. I've never cooked with lamb before, but I love to eat it! I also wanted to tell you that I made the indonesian chicken recipe last night for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! I will definitely be making that one again. Thanks and keep up the good work!

The P & A Food Chronicles said...

those seem very delicious!! i love gyro... i just tried some banana chocolate-chip pudding in the "pot" it came out go soft and gooey and just utterly irresitable.. much better than it's oven counterpart..
im going to post it soon!! but your gyro inspired me to do more "pot" food!!

The Unrepentant Gallivanter said...

I made taziki to go with our chicken last night. mmmm. I linked to your site today, since I posted a picture of my new crock pot! : )Keep up the good work!

Zimms Zoo said...

My kids aren't fond of the plain yogurt variation so we use ranch dressing and then add all the other ingredients. They love it that way and will eat just the sauce. We never have leftovers when we make these.

Leah Ingram said...

Stephanie:

My husband and I used to live in Astoria, New York (borough of Queens in New York City), which is supposed to have the largest Greek population outside of Athens. We loved being able to get Greek food all the time.

I'm wondering if you know if you can substitute all ground turkey since we don't eat lamb, or if you could use chicken? Looking forward to surprising my husband with this meal.

Leah (who always said Jai-roh, then learned that is was Gee-roh)

Crockpot Lady said...

zimmszoo, what a great idea about using Ranch dressing! my kids would be all over that.

leah, I know it would work in that it would cook correctly---give it a try! worst case scenario, you have a nice turkey meatloaf that you can slather yummy sauce on! :-)

xxo
steph

Lori4squaremom said...

Hey Stephanie,

The gyros that I have had have had a very dense texture and are able to be sliced very thinly. Does this recipe have that same dense texture that allows the meat to be thinly sliced? And do you need to let the meat sit for a while before slicing?

Thanks!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Lori, I handpacked the meat---it had the consistency of a very dense meatloaf. I was able to slice the meat about 1/4 inch thick. or maybe smaller. I just looked for a ruler, and it was some architectural ruler that I don't understand. :-)

-steph

Michelle said...

Oh My Word Steph!!! You Rock Lady.I'm making this tomorrow thank you. All the best

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amy said...

this is awesome!! haven't even cleaned up after having this for dinner- couldn't wait to comment and let you know how yummy this was! thank you so much- just love your blog. will make it again only using twice as much meat- into 2 loaves in the crockpot.

Kelly said...

I tried this and it was delicious. Even hubby thought so. The 2-yr-old just ate the pita. So typical.

I just used lamb. I bought it at the farmer's market, and they only sold it frozen in 1.5 lb. quantities. So that's what we used. It was still great.

My husband started going to town on the onions and garlic at the bottom. He said they'd be really good on a sandwich. I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Carey said...

Its funny, I actually was thinking of gyros this morning because our fair is coming to town, and that is what I want to get when we are there. I had one for the first time last year, and it was so good. But my meat was chicken strips. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Katie said...

Steph-

I love your blog!!! It has really been inspiring me to use my Crockpot more - even my husband commented on how many dinners have been coming from the Crockpot! Tonight, we made the gyros recipe. The meat was tender and moist which was wonderful. And, not greasy at all! There was an amazing Greek restaurant in the town we went to college in, and I was excited to attempt my own! Overall, I was really happy with dinner.

If you make this, I would begin with less garlic for the Tzatziki sauce, initially. I LOVE garlic and normally add more than the recipe calls for, however, three cloves to just one container of yogurt is pretty pungent!

Thanks for a blog I look forward to checking!

kelly said...

I tried this recipe tonight and it was wonderful. We used turkey because I once knew a lamb named gracie and after i've called an animal by it's name i hate eating it.
I made my own pitas because they are super easy to make. I don't have any mint in my garden, so i did without...the tzaziki sauce was good anyways.
Hubby loved it, i loved it, toddler ate it without any kicking and screaming. Thanks for the great recipe.

Stephanie said...

A lot of recipies I see for this had you grinding up the meat mixture until it's a paste, making a loaf, refrigerating it, then cooking it. I think I will try it that way and see how it works in the crock. I'll let you know.

Gluten Free Baking Queen said...

This was totally awesome! I made this last weekend and had Gyro's all week for lunch. The sauce was the perfect flavor of traditional Gyro's.

My littlest Silly guy just ate the meat, he wasn't into the stuff with it.

I used GF brown rice tortillas. I actually found ground lamb at the grocery store, I was about to buy a cheaper cut of lamb and grind it myself.

I'm working on GF pita...

Julie said...

I just discovered you blog. I love it! I have a crockpot but don't know what to do with it because I feel nothing turns out right. I am going to try the Gyro recipe this weekend. It's hard working full time and having to prepare dinner everynight with no help. You have giving me some inspriation to have meals ready during the week! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We had this tonight. We left the mint out of the Tzatziki and the meat only took 2&1/2 hours on low to cook. We ate it on delicious flatbread with a few of the suggested additions. I'm not much of a fan of lamb so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The flavor of the oregano really comes through and the paprika adds a nice color. Oh, we also added salt and pepper to the meat before cooking. Will make again! Thanks for the recipe! And, based on the look and smell of the garlic on the bottom of the crock pot, I believe we could totally roast garlic in the crock pot from now on. Will give that a try soon!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Anon! I'm SO happy that you enjoyed this. And you're right---you can totally roast garlic in the crockpot!

Anonymous said...

Thanks crock pot lady! Will be roasting garlic very soon!

Michelle said...

To the commenter that asked about whether the gyros strictly need to have lamb in them: the answer is no. You can have them with chicken or turkey or whatever you prefer.

-- part greek girl

colesmom said...

I made this, and then had to make it again the very next night because everyone loved it so much and gobbled it all up! Since then, I double the receipe to make a larger loaf. It works great without having to change cooking times or pots. (I use a 6 qt.)

Dolphin Valley Academy said...

These gyros totally and completely rock. So easy, and the flavor is fantastic. My only complaint is that there weren't nearly enough leftovers! I'm going to double the recipe and make two loaves next time. The only change I made was that I used the juice of half a lemon over the top of the loaf, rather than juice of a whole lemon. I served the gyros with a mediterranean quinoa and chickpea salad. My heart sang.

Anonymous said...

For you Costco shoppers, try the Tziki sauce. I love it! I use it for a veggie dip also. Can't wait to try these. Somebody should let Alton Brown know it can be this easy... his episode on gyros looked very difficult

<3julie said...

Hi Steph! Love the blog :]

I am planning on making this recipe for a dinner party on Friday night. I am in seminary, and have taken a whole semester of Biblical Greek over the past two weeks...insanity! I know my Greek class will love this recipe. I just have a question or two.

I want to make twice the recipe, so I was planning on making two loaves. Is this what you would recommend, instead of one big one? How long should I cook them if there are two?

Also, can I make the loaves the night before, refrigerate them and stick them in the CrockPot in the morning?

Thanks!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Julie,

I think if you used a large slow cooker and nestled the two loaves together, you won't really need to adjust the cooking time. It might take a bit longer, but not much if at all.

As for making the loaves the day before, that won't be a problem at all, and it will actually give the flavors more time to meld.

your party sounds fun!

xoxox steph

MadisonHomeCooker said...

This was delicious! My husband and kids (ages 4 & 6) gobbled these up. The yogurt sauce is a must. I cut up cukes, yellow peppers, and tomatoes and my kids loved filling their own pitas. For the grown ups I served it with a greek salad with feta, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers which we ate part as a salad and part stuffed into the pita with the meat. Yum! I used half lamb and half ground veal since it was right next to the lamb at the grocery store and is locally raised in my area. Also, since I had 2 lbs of meat I doubled the recipe and cooked it all at the same time in my 4 qt crock pot. It was a bit tight, but it was fine. I let it cook on high for about 2 1/2 hours to make sure it was done. Now I have another meal in the freezer which makes me very happy. Will definitely make this again!

N.H. Shell said...

Made these last night and they were wonderful! The leftovers got finished today...thanks for the recipe! Orange chicken is up next!

Ruby said...

Made this last night because I finally found some ground lamb on sale. The only difference was I doubled the recipe and added 1 tsp. of dried mint as well. I also added a wee smidge of olive oil to the crock (afterall it is supposed to be greek).
I cooked on low for 5 hours and it was amazing. I had some cooked rice leftover so I nuked some of that with some of the pan drippings and had a delightful meal. Thanks so much

dawniawnie said...

I chopped onions and garlic & added into mixture. Interested to see how it turns out!

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