About a year ago, I lived down the street from a Greek Orthodox church in a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. Every hour, the church bells would play a hymn, and even though most were hymns I had never heard before, the music filled me with hope and slowed down time. As I toted my groceries back from the store on blustery midwest afternoons, I felt like grace was filtering down over my neighborhood.
Living down the street from this church brought another blessing. Every August, the church sponsored “Greek Fest,” filling the street with a Tilt-a-whirl, a Carousel, many giggling children and the smell of beef and lamb roasted on a rotisserie.
The last August I spent in Chicago, my husband, some neighborhood friends and I decided we finally needed to experience Greek Fest for ourselves. I sat on a ledge with my friends and savored the last of summer and the soft saltiness of an authentic Gyro.
When I miss my Chicago friends, this is one moment I remember.
I can’t bring us all back together again in my new home just yet, but I can attempt to make Greek-style sandwiches reminiscent of the ones we enjoyed at Greek Fest.
The ones I made recently are not true gyros, since those use slow-roasted lamb, but if you are craving a similar soft saltiness and looking for an easy way to replicate gyros at home, this recipe does the trick–and uses up some of that Lone Star Farm beef you either bought on sale or have in your freezer from buying a portion of a Lone Star cow!
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Juice of one lime
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 cup peeled, finely chopped cucumber
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) carton plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 4 pocketless pitas/flatbreads
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Brown beef and accompanying spices and lime juice. Drain.
- Mix together sauce ingredients.
- Sprinkle cayenne onto pitas. If desired, warm them in a toaster oven. Then, layer beef and sauce on pitas and serve.