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Greek-style lamb pita sandwiches with tzatziki recipe

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Adjust Servings:
Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup plain whole-milk Yogurt
½ medium Cucumber , peeled, seeded, and diced fine (½ cup)
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh Mint or dill
1 small Garlic clove, minced
4 (8-inch) Pita Breads
½ Onion , chopped coarse
4 teaspoons fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh Oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 Garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1 pound ground Lamb
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
1 large Tomato , sliced thin
2 cups shredded Iceberg Lettuce
2 ounces Feta Cheese , crumbled (½ cup)

Greek-style lamb pita sandwiches with tzatziki recipe

  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • Tzatziki Sauce

  • Sandwiches



Greek gyros are classic sandwiches of seasoned, marinated lamb, tomato, lettuce, and cucumber-yogurt tzatziki sauce stuffed inside a soft pita. The traditional method for cooking the meat employs an electric vertical rotisserie on which layers of sliced and marinated leg of lamb are stacked. After cooking for hours, the meat is shaved with a long slicing knife, creating pieces with crisp exteriors and moist interiors infused with garlic and oregano. We wanted to translate this recipe for the home kitchen. Surprisingly, using ground lamb which we formed into patties was easy and came close to reproducing the texture of rotisserie lamb. A modified panade, or wet binder, of pita bread crumbs, lemon juice, and garlic gave our patties a sturdier structure and fuller, more savory flavor. For a crisp outside and moist inside, we browned our patties in a skillet until a crust formed on each side. Although we prefer the richness of plain whole-milk yogurt for the sauce, lowfat yogurt can be substituted. If using pocketless pitas, do not cut off the tops in step 4; instead, use a portion of a fifth pita to create crumbs. The skillet may appear crowded when you begin cooking the patties, but they will shrink slightly as they cook.



For the Tzatziki Sauce

Line fine-mesh strainer set over deep container or bowl with 3 paper coffee filters or triple layer of paper towels. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, combine cucumber, lemon juice and ⅛ teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand for 30 minutes.


Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, mint, and garlic in clean bowl.


For the sandwiches

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top quarter off each pita bread. Tear quarters into 1-inch pieces. (You should have ¾ cup pita pieces.) Stack pitas and tightly wrap with aluminum foil. Process onion, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and pita bread pieces in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl; add lamb and gently mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Gently flatten balls into round disks, about ½ inch thick and 2½ inches in diameter.


Place foil-wrapped pitas directly on oven rack and heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned and crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, reduce heat to medium, and cook until well browned and crust forms on second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer patties to paper towel–lined plate.


Using spoon, spread ¼ cup tzatziki sauce inside each pita. Divide patties evenly among pitas; top each sandwich with tomato slices, ½ cup shredded lettuce, and 2 tablespoons feta. Serve immediately.


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