Monday, October 7, 2013

Lamb Tzatziki Gyros from Paleo Lunches & Breakfasts on the Go

I love gyros, but I've rarely found gluten free ones in restaurants.  When I saw that Diana Rodgers had a gyro recipe in her new book Paleo Lunches & Breakfasts on the Go, I knew I had to try them out.  

Again, here you're getting two recipes reviews for one:  the gyros and the tzatziki sauce.  

There are two phases of preparation for this recipe.  The night before I wanted to eat the gyros, I started by making the lamb loaf and paleo mayonnaise for the Tzatziki sauce.  

First thing, I turned my oven on to pre-heat.  It surprised me that I needed my food processor for this recipe, but that's how you get a smooth meat loaf infused with flavor.   I coarsely cut up an onion and added it with the bacon to the food processor bowl.  

Once it was smooth, I added the lamb and the herbs and spices.  

Again, you process this until smooth.  When I thought my mixture was smooth, it actually wasn't.  I found some large pieces of garlic as I poured the mixture out, so I had to process it some more.  The next time I make this I will likely use my garlic press so that I can be sure that I wont have any garlic chunks in my loaf to worry about.

I transferred the meat to a parchment lined baking sheet and spread the meat into a rectangle shaped loaf.  

Yes, you can call me crazy, but I pulled out a tape measure.  If I hadn't, what I thought was the right measurement was actually really off.  If I wasn't preparing it for the blog, I might have gone with my eyeballed loaf size, but I didn't want this not to work out for my not following instructions. 

I put the loaf into the pre-heated oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.  

Tzatziki Sauce

While my gyro loaf was baking, I made a batch of paleo mayonnaise for the Tzatziki Sauce but I actually prepared the sauce the next morning.  The sauce is easy to put together, so it makes no sense to me now in hindsight why I didn't just make the sauce when I made the mayo. Lazy.

After getting the ingredients together, I peeled the cucumber and used a melon baller to remove the seeds.  A spoon would work just as well.  I diced up enough of the cucumber for the sauce.
I chopped up the fresh herbs.

And squeezed some lemon juice.  

Finally, you mix everything together.  Easy.  

When the timer on the oven went off, I carefully transferred the baked loaf to a storage container and put it into the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, I turned on my broiler, cut the loaf into slices on to a parchment lined broiling pan.  I broiled the slices until they began to brown.  She says to broil for 2 minutes, but mine were no where near brown at 2 minutes.  It took me 7 minutes.  Every one's broiler will be different.  

In the book, these gyros are served with Coconut Crepes.  Rather than making those, I decided to just use some lettuce.  I love using this butter lettuce for wraps.  The outer leaves are just big enough and pliable enough for a small wrap.  

I packed everything up and headed to work.  

I actually had these for breakfast.  When I got to work, I sliced the tomato, heated the meat and then assembled my lettuce wrapped gyros.  The recipe calls for sliced red onion as well, but I didn't have any- I forgot to buy one.  Drat.  

And a close up.

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:   I bought the ground lamb at Whole Foods at it was $8.99/pound. I've not noticed ground lamb at my "big box" grocery store and if it was there, I don't know that I'd trust the quality.  You should be able to find the remainder of the ingredients at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took 17.5 minutes to prepare the meat loaf to bake for 30 minutes. During that 30 minutes of baking time, I made a batch of paleo mayonnaise to use for the Tzatziki sauce which took 5 minutes.  You then have inactive time anywhere from 2 hours to overnight to let the loaf rest.  I let mine set overnight.  The Tzatziki sauce took 15.5 minutes to make (including the mayo preparation time).  It took me 7 minutes to broil the gyro slices until brown.  It took me  5 minutes at lunch time to assemble the gyros.    

So while this recipe has many steps, you you were on the ball more than I was, you could make the Tzatziki while the loaf is baking instead of making it later.  If you did that you'd have 47.5 minutes of preparation and cooking in the first stage and then about 12 minutes more (depending on your broiler) to finish the preparation.  If you're making the crepes, well, that will add time of course.  

Clean Up:  Despite there being a many steps to prepare this recipe, the clean up isn't bad.  Pretty much everything I used went into the dishwasher.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  Yum. Yum. Yum.   I had these for breakfast and for lunch.  Even though I didn't have red onion, I loved these flavor packed lettuce wrapped gyros.  The earthiness of the lamb combined with the garlic.  The Tzatziki added a perfect herby tartness to the wrap.  It was as good as any Tzatziki I remember.   Have you been missing gyros?  No need to miss them any longer.  

While I was putting these together, I shared some with a coworker who had not had a gyro before.  She loved it.  She noted my outward improvement in weight and she asked me, "Is this how you've melted away?" Yes!  I replied.  She'd heard of the paleo diet before.  I love these moments where you can share the benefits of eating a whole foods diet through the food.  

I went through the entire loaf too quickly.  I will certainly make these again.  I've not seen that Diana has posted this recipe anywhere, so you'll have to buy her book to enjoy them.