Chicken Gyros with Marinated & Grilled Onions on Homemade Pita
Makes 8 Pitas
A blissful getaway to Greece sounds like crack to most of us when the chill in the air goes from 'pleasant in the right weather' to 'biting no matter how strong the sun'. A tangible image starts to form, as if sensually moulded by Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. We envisage the vibrant blues of the Aegean sea reflected in our wine glass, as little beads of condensation run down it. Then you pluck up the courage to take that sneaky long weekend across the border and you gingerly step onto Patron Athena's olive-rich land. You inhale, ready for that ouzo and toasted oregano aroma to marinate your lungs, and yet... you garner the faint smell of urine, and heavy motorcycle fumes. Athens, you realise, is a far cry from the freehand watercolour painting you cited on your instagram feed.
Not one to dwell for too long, I made my way to the heart of touristville, grabbed a 4 euro gyros and sat myself on the curb outside a wedding dress establishment. The disappointment melted off of my skin as I hoovered into the chicken and chip stuffed pita. I will happily hashtag #noregrets about my two days in Greece purely based on the insurmountable stash of creamy feta and sticky baklava I shovelled into my gob that weekend. Never mind getting pickpocketed by five teenagers or a 6 year old threatening to kill me. Entirely worth it.
The resting time for the pita is important to make them fluffy and light, so don't try and cut corners with it - just make them at lunch time and you'll be good to go by dinner.
Additionally, don't forget to cover them when you take them off of the pan - they will go cold and hard quick if you don't keep them together underneath a damp tea towel.
I make my chips in a skillet, I find this the easiest way to make them - simply slice your potato into large batons, rinse them in cold water, pat them dry, and fry them up with a few tablespoons of canola or rice bran oil. Keep tossing occasionally until they reach the level of crispy and browned you like. You could also make them in the oven, I just prefer to do them in a skillet.
250ml of warm water
1 tablespoon of sugar
8 grams of dry active yeast
400g of plain flour or bread flour
1 scant tablespoon of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
800 grams of boneless, chicken thighs
1 large red onion, cut in to thick rings
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons of greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
1 large red onion, cut in to thick rings
1/2 cup of greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/4 cup of chopped mint
1/2 cup of cucumber, diced
1/2 cup of red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Everything but the bagel seasoning
In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Leave to rest for 10 minutes to bloom the yeast.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Stir this into the yeast mixture with the olive oil. Once it is roughly incorporated, set aside for 20 minutes - this hydrates the flour.
Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Shape the dough into a large ball and place this in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2 hours.
Knock the air out of the dough by punching it down once. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into 8 separate balls.
Leave the balls on a lightly floured surface and cover them with a slightly damp tea towel to rise for 1 hour.
Roll each ball on a lightly floured surface into 1/2cm thick pitas, use your fingers to create little indents on one side of the pita. Keep the balls under the tea towel unless rolling them out.
On a very hot, lightly oiled, cast iron skillet (or non-stick pan), place one pita bread down at a time and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden.
Once cooked, set aside and cover with a damp tea towel, until ready to serve.
Mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken and onion rings.
Coat the chicken and onion rings in the mixture. Cover this and leave in the fridge for minimum 2 hours but overnight is preferable.
When ready to cook, heat up a grill or a cast iron pan. Lightly oil the grill and place your chicken on the pan 3-4 minutes each side (until cooked through).
Cover the chicken with aluminium foil for 5 minutes before slicing into it.
Grill the onions in a separate pan with a small drizzle of olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until slightly charred and cooked through.
Mix together all the ingredients and set aside.
Spoon a tablespoon of tzatziki on the pita then load each pita up with chicken, grilled onions. homemade fries, sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta, fresh coriander, and seasonings!