I have to start my post off by asking you this question! This is a must know…Did you know “Gyro” is pronounced YEAR-O? If you did, pat yourself on the back. If not, you learned something new today! This is Roberta posting again. Aren’t I the luckiest girl in the world to be a guest on this awesome blog?
My favorite food in the whole wide world is Greek food (shh, don’t tell my family they are very Italian)! I grew up having pasta and meatballs EVERY Sunday as a kid. It’s not a very common passion, that is why I thought you would find this post interesting!
While the main ingredients of Greek cooking are basic and few, olive oil, honey, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, lamb and fish, the manner in which they are prepared seems to have an endless variety and taste.
Greek food has evolved a lot with time, but the one thing that has not changed is the fact that no matter what is on the table, a Greek family will eat it together. Sharing food with love is one thing that has passed on through Greek food history, without change. Greeks need the smallest of reasons to plan a family reunion and invite everyone to share a meal with them. So, along with the wide variety of food, there is loads of love to be served in Greece. Couldn’t we all learn a little from the Greeks?!
Did You Know…
The first cookbook was written by the Greek food gourmet, Archestratos, in 330 B.C., which suggests that cooking has always been of importance and significance in Greek society.
Modern chefs owe the tradition of their tall, white chef’s hat to the Greeks. In the middle ages, monastic brothers who prepared food in the Greek Orthodox monasteries wore tall white hats to distinguish them in their work from the regular monks, who wore large black hats.
To a large degree, vegetarian cuisine can be traced to foods and recipes which originated in Greece.
Many ingredients used in modern Greek cooking were unknown in the country until the middle ages. These include the potato, tomato, spinach, bananas, and others which came to Greece after the discovery of the Americas, their origin.
Greek food is simple and elegant, with flavors subtle to robust, textures smooth to crunchy, fresh and timeless, nutritious and healthy. Preparing and enjoying Greek food, anywhere in the world, is an adventurous journey into the cradle of civilization and the land of the Gods of Olympus. Discovering, tasting, experiencing Greek food: truly one of the joys we can all share.
Unfortunately, I am not a lamb or fish fan when it comes to Greek food! Chicken! Chicken! Chicken! Bring on the Greek chicken baby! Now that you have learned a little bit about Greek food history let’s get cookin baby! I am going to share with you my favorite chicken gyro (yee-ro) recipe. I would have this ever night for dinner if the fam would let me! No, seriously…I would!
I know this may seem like a lot of ingredients but you probably have them all on hand. You are not going to go out and buy anything out of the ordinary.
Chicken Souvlaki Gyro Style
(souvlakia is a popular Greek food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer.)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Tzatziki Sauce (cucumber sauce):
1/2 cup seeded, shredded cucumber
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
4 large pita bread rounds (or Greek flatbread)
1 heart of romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, halved and sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinaigrette, juice from 1/2 lemon, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over the chicken, seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
Toss the shredded cucumber with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and allow to sit at least 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil. Season with garlic, fresh dill, and Greek seasoning. Squeeze the cucumber to remove any excess water; stir into sauce. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove chicken from marinade and place on prepared grill. Discard remaining marinade. Cook chicken until juices run clear, about 8 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from heat, and allow to sit about 10 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
Place pita rounds on the grill, and cook for about 2 minutes, until warm, turning frequently to avoid burning. Arrange warmed pita, sliced chicken, lettuce, onion, tomato, olives, and pepperoncini on a serving platter. Serve tzatziki sauce and feta cheese in separate bowls on the side. Stuff pita pockets with chicken and toppings to serve.