I tried my first gyro in high school. A new Middle-Eastern restaurant had come to town and one of my friends started worked there before it officially opened. I’m sure I never would’ve ordered the specialty gyros if she hadn’t come to class each day raving about how delicious they were–how the meat was perfectly seasoned and so tender it tasted like it had been slow-cooked all day long. Her daily descriptions made my mouth water until I finally dragged my family to the restaurant on opening night to try those acclaimed gyros for myself.
My younger brother ordered a plate of “GUY-rows” right away and I lowered my head in shame. I was dining with unrefined fools.
Thankfully, my waitress friend had recently educated me (ahem, just the day before) on the correct pronunciation so I, the intellectual, was able to proudly share my knowledge with the world.
“YEAR-rows. They are called YEAR-rows. Duh!” Dramatic eye roll.
Such a task, educating the lesser folks.
Even now, I still have to hide a smile when I overhear anyone ordering a GUY-row or J’EYE-row. Servers usually get raised eyebrows and/or intrigued facial expressions whenever I order gyros, because they’re surprised someone actually knows how to pronounce the word. So just in case you didn’t know before, now you do:
Those little Greek tacos are called “YEAR-rows.”
Go forth with correct pronunciation and be entertained by the surprised reactions.
I tried the chicken gyros from Elly Says Opa a few years ago after reading countless great reviews. Making my own gyros had been on my list for awhile, but I wanted to find a recipe using chicken after hearing this story (the one all the way at the bottom of the page) in church for too many Easters in a row.
I love the lamb and beef mixture that most restaurants use in their house gyros, but chicken is something I always have in the freezer and makes this meal easier to throw together anytime.
No matter what kind of meat you use, gyros are delicious and this recipe is especially a winner! The chicken is full of flavor, and the tzatziki is what really makes it. I’m not one to go crazy over cucumbers, but seriously, I could eat this tzatziki by itself! It had a short lifespan in my fridge–not because it spoiled, but because it disappeared into my stomach real fast. I found myself ripping off piece after piece of whole wheat pitas to dip in the tzatziki because it just kept calling my name.
The truth is that there’s only one thing I do not like about this recipe.
My breath after the fact.
I love this meal and would eat the leftovers for days in a row if there ever were any. It’s tasty, it’s healthy…but it makes your breath stink. The raw garlic in the tzatziki can leave a less-than-pleasant aftertaste for a good 10 hours.
But it’s worth it. The tzatziki would be nothing without the garlic flavor, and the gyros wouldn’t be gyros without the tzatziki. Don’t be afraid to make this! …Just maybe don’t plan any major social events immediately following consumption.
To prove just how much I like this recipe, let’s take a look at a food-blogger-fail of a photo:
True story: That gaping hole that I tried to hide at the back of the picture is, in fact, a bite mark.
I consider myself to be relatively disciplined since it’s my number-two strength (according to the amazing Strengthsfinder–check it out!), but I wanted a taste so badly that I gave in and then realized I’d destroyed my last pita in two seconds with my teeth. Good going, Brianna. But hey, I keep it real around here! I could’ve spent a half-hour perfecting it in Photoshop but I prefer truth. And the truth is I was hungry. :)
I also added about five times as much tzatziki after taking photos, because, like I said, the tzatziki is where the flavor really comes from! I never thought I’d get so excited about cucumbers, but I love this tzatziki and it is a perfect match for the seasoned chicken. Plus, when you use Greek yogurt, it’s just added protein and nutrition!
A #win to make up for my photo #fail. Sounds about right to me! Enjoy!
- 1.25 lbs. chicken breast, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 heaping Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 pitas
- 16 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Additional extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
- Additional toppings of choice: chopped tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc.
- To prepare chicken, whisk garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt and oregano in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and coat well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper as desired and place in a single layer in a 9x13 baking pan. Broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. (Larger pieces of chicken will take longer to cook--slice through the center with a knife if you're unsure!)
- Place pitas on a plate and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to warm.
- For each gyro, top a warm pita with a fourth of the chicken, tzatziki (recipe follows), and other toppings of choice.
- Grate cucumber into a bowl.
- Using a paper towel (or several), squeeze out excess moisture.
- Add yogurt, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice if desired. Mix until well-combined and salt to taste.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving, if possible, for best flavor.
- When you're ready to serve, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.
Adapted from Elly Says Opa
*This recipe actually has more protein than the nutritional information below states. The ingredient calculator I use does not yet register Greek yogurt, so the final nutritional stats will vary slightly.