Chicken Gyros by Larry Andersen

Chicken Gyro

with Tzatziki Sauce

My first encounter with pita bread was back in the 1950s. Back then it was also known as pocket bread; just slice it in half, open the edges to make a hollow space and dump the sandwich filler into the pocket. And dump is what mother did. She found that the pocket was less messy than two slices of bread that dropped the filling all over the floor. Pita was a fad for awhile and then it sort of disappeared to become a hard to find specialty item. I forgot about it too.

In later years, when my circle of friends widened, I came across pita bread again and I learned about gyros. It was all academic. Gyros were made with lamb. I didnt care for lamb, so I didnt dabble, although there was a certain curiosity. Not too many years ago I came across chicken gyros at Floridas famous Plant City Strawberry Festival, a carnival of proportion. No carnival would be complete without a food vendor fairway. The Strawberry Festival has many vendors and that is where my certain curiosity came to light and I chose a chicken gyro for lunch.

If the truth be known, a chicken gyro is just a chicken sandwich on peculiar bread. It is the tzatziki sauce that sets it apart from other chicken sandwiches. The combination of the cucumber and Greek yogurt is just the perfect combination to dress the sandwich. The cool sweetness of the cucumber and the creamy smoothness of the yogurt provide smooth delivery of the garlic and oregano grilled chicken. These days, if I pass a shop that sells gyros, I at least look to see if they also make chicken gyros...

Preparation: Time Life Experience Recipe
Makes 4 gyro sandwiches
Meat and Marinade Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground oregano
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, OR use prepared minced garlic, 1 teaspoon
Sandwich Ingredients:
  • 4 Pita bread
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Thin sliced red onion
  • Tzatziki sauce
  • Diced, seeded and drained, tomatoes
  • Crumbled Feta cheese, if desired
Procedure
  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together. Pour into a plastic bag with a tie or zip closer. Add the chicken breast; knead the bag gently to coat the meat. Gently squeeze the air out of the bag and close the zipper. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight is better.
  2. Grill the chicken until an internal temperature of 170. When cooled enough to handle, cut the chicken in -inch slices. Then cross cut into pieces about 1-inch long. In a plastic bag, add all of the marinade ingredients and mix. Add the chicken pieces and knead the bag to coat the chicken. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is good. Knead the bag several times during the marinade period.

  3. Prepare lettuce, thin slice into shreds. Prepare tomatoes, slice, drain and remove seeds. Coarsely chop. Prepare red onion, thinly slice and separate into rings.
  4. Warm the pita bread in the microwave or in a preheated oven. On of the pita bread, make a thin bed of lettuce. Add tomato and onion as desired.

  5. Add chicken meat pieces , enough to fill out the sandwich.
  6. Drizzle with tzatziki sauce and sprinkle with feta cheese, as desired. Serve with additional tzatziki sauce on the side.

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Latest revision done October 2010
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