Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken Gyro Adventures

I am a slacker.  I apologize to all three of the people that read this blog.

So, I'm going to do a couple posts in the next few days to catch us up to the present. The Lion's Den has seen some rocky times lately, and our grocery budget is ummm...nothing. But since I stock my pantries/freezer/fridge just in case we're laid seige, we have enough to survive for a little while.

My mother-in-law gave us these fabulous half chickens that are free-range and from a farm down the road.  They are vacuum sealed and don't have that orange-y yellow-y cast that a lot of commercial chicken seems to have (even the organic ones).  Let me tell you proof is in the pullet folks, this was some goooood chicken.

I had some onion naan that needed to be used, and onion, and olives, so it wasn't a far stretch for my little brain to think: Chicken Gyros. Oh yeah.  Fortunately, the DH is becoming more adventurous by the day (just yesterday he asked if we could try kiwi mojitos some day), so I knew he'd be down with it.  The only thing I was a little trepidatious about getting the "What are you making me eat?" face from was the Greek yogurt.

Let me digress about Greek yogurt. It. Is. Awesome.  It is thicker than "conventional" yogurt, and it will hold up to mixing just about anything into it - fruit, honey, herbs, etc. Just the other day I mixed it in as a binder for burgers. No kidding, it helps replace moisture as fat escapes (a later blog post on that). Greek yogurt has more of a consistency of a thick sour cream, and I think it's not as sharp-tasting as regular yogurt.  It also doesn't spoil as quickly, so you get more bang for your buck.  I buy the Athena brand from Payless (Kroger). For this recipe, I used it to make my tzatziki sauce to put on the gyro. But, back to the chikky.

This recipe is an adaptation from The Girl Who Ate Everything. This recipe has you marinating the chicken. I'm lazy. I'm impatient. I don't marinate. For the same reason I don't bake anything with yeast in it. I want to eat NOW, I don't want to wait 2 hours for something to puff up.  I'm usually in a time crunch after work, I'm not dusting my knick-knack collection waiting for bread to rise.

Soooo...You could do this with a variety of cuts of chicken, because you're going to pull it all off the bone anyway. So I have my little half chicken. I put her in a 9x9 glass baking dish and dumped:
2 t. minced garlic
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. red wine vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. oregano
salt and pepper

all over the bird. If you want to marinate it, add 2 T. of the Greek yogurt and dunk the chicken in it and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  But I just gave my birdie buddy a tasty bath:

Look how gorgeous she is! I put her in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes and she came out looking like this:
That zesty marinade just perked her right up! Look how golden and beautiful the skin is.  Mmmm mmmm! So, without even waiting for her to cool much, I started pulling the meat off the bone. I burnt my fingers yes, but it was worth it. You probably want to wait for it to cool before shredding it, and just reheat it when you're ready to serve the gyros.

While Henrietta was cooking, I whipped up the tzatziki sauce. Seriously, you can put this on everything, not just gyros. Use it as just a dip for pita chips, add to wraps, I used the leftover tzatziki and chicken to make a chicken gyro salad with the sauce as the dressing. Opa!
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

Mix all this together.  You can squeeze or pat the cucumber dry, but I never do, it doesn't change the consistency of the sauce much in my opinion. Quick tip for seeding cucumbers: slice them lengthways after peeling them, and take a spoon and using firm pressure scrape out the seeds. Easy peasy!  This is handy if you want to put chicken salad or cheese, or minted watermelon in the little cucumber "boat." Tasty and elegant.

Anyhow, after the addition of some garlic naan, sliced onions, black olives, a slathering of tzatziki, and the chicken, you get Chicken Gyros. Voila!

(don't worry about the chicken, it looks a lot more pink than it really is. Promise, I'm not eating raw chikky)

Until next time, Peas, Love, and Tzatziki!

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