Dorothy Dean Presents: Replace Traditional Lamb with Chicken for National Gyroscope Day
Editor’s Note: This is the last presentation of Dorothy Dean by Audrey Alfaro. His incredible recipes and weekly photographs will be missed and we wish him good luck with his new ventures in South Dakota. Ricky Webster Presents debuts in Food next Wednesday.
Welcome September – and, most importantly, National Gyroscope Day! Hailed annually on September 1, this delicious food festival celebrates the tasty Greek pita sandwich made with lamb, beef, pork or chicken and topped with crunchy fresh vegetables, tangy feta and a refreshing tzatziki sauce.
Traditionally cooked on a vertical spit, meat roasts in front of a heating element, turning slowly. This is where its name comes from, because gyro (pronounced yee-roh) in Greek means “tower”. This recipe uses chicken breasts and marinates them in a tangy mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, oregano, thyme, paprika. , cumin, salt and pepper.
Cooked on a grill or on a stovetop, the chicken is then sliced and served in a hot pita with an array of fresh toppings such as tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and lettuce. Pepperoncini and kalamata olives are also great, and the feta and tzatziki sauce is a must – and this homemade version is a cinch to make.
Combining Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice (seasoned to taste salt and pepper) with diced cucumber and dill, it’s deliciously fresh, creamy and versatile. It can be used as a dip for fries or vegetables, as a sandwich spread and with grilled meats. It pairs perfectly with my Greek meatloaf recipe on Spoonandswallow.com.
Chicken breasts can be substituted with thighs or fillets, and flat bread or naan bread can be used in place of pita. Or serve the chicken on a salad, in a wrap or in a bowl of rice or cereal. You’ll be the gyroscope in everyone’s kitchen (moan)!
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4 breasts)
For the marinade:
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, squeezed and zested
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup plain, whole Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of thyme
½ teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon of pepper
For the tzatziki:
1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and finely diced
2 cups plain, whole Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ lemon, squeezed
Fresh cracked pepper
⅓ cup fresh dill, chopped
For the service, the garnishes are optional:
4-6 pita breads
Red onion, thinly sliced
Crumbled feta cheese
Place the chicken and marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag and massage to combine. Marinate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.
Meanwhile, prepare the tzatziki sauce. In a small bowl, combine the cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Transfer to a fine mesh colander over a bowl and let drain, about 20 minutes. Place the drained cucumber in cheesecloth and wring out the excess liquid.
Combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Stir in the cucumber and dill. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
When ready to cook, heat a grill or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the grill or pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let rest, then cut the chicken into strips.
To assemble and serve, heat the pita bread on a grill, skillet or in the microwave to make it pliable. Top with chicken slices, then tzatziki sauce and desired toppings.
Audrey Alfaro can be contacted at cuillè[email protected]