Lamb gyros, a Labor of Love…

September 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t like going to the butcher.  Not in Dubai.  Apart from the whole skinned goats hanging behind the counter, the fresh cow hearts, and mutton tongues in the display case, it’s just not something I fully understand or am very comfortable with.  In Florida, you go to your butcher, ask what’s on special, order your meat, say how you want it cut, make some jokes, get cooking suggestions, give out recipes…it’s quite an affair.  But here, it’s, well, challenging.

I learned this very early on when I ordered a boneless lamb shoulder.  The butcher looked at me quizzically, shook his head and richly answered, “No, with bone.”  Fortunately for me, You Tube has plenty of videos of deboning anything, right in your very own home.  Occasionally, I get lucky, find lamb chops, rack of lamb, ground lamb, lamb kofta, and then I go lamb crazy and buy a kilo of each (yes, the metric system).  This week it was lamb chops, so I decided to make lamb gyros just in time for Labor Day weekend!

Since I live on the 22nd floor of a balcony-less apartment building, actual grilling is out of the question–but my 15dhs Ikea grill pan worked perfectly for my chops, which I marinated over night.  Combine that with some crazy silky homemade tzatziki sauce and I was in Mediterranean heaven.

Mediterranean Lamb Chops Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 4 Lamb chops (4 oz each or 500 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

Tzatziki Sauce Adapted from Alton Brown

  • 2 cups plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and shredded
  • 6 mint leaves, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Additionally, for the gyros assembly, I use thick arabic bread–much nicer than “pita” which tends to be flat and dry.  Also cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed, chopped red lettuce leaves, and sliced red onions.  You could use olives if you like.


For the lamb marinade, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, oil,  rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, and juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the lamb chops in a freezer bag, then pour the marinade on top. Seal the bag, and spread the chops out to ensure they are evenly coated with the mixture.  Refrigerate overnight. Before grilling, remove the chops from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.  Prepare a grill pan on medium high heat and place the chops in for 6-7 minutes per side for medium chops.  Remove from the pan and allow the meat to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

For the tzatziki, line a sieve with paper towels, then place the sieve over a bowl.  Pour the yogurt into the sieve and refrigerate for two hours.  This will drain the water out of the yogurt and make it super thick.  (I forgot it in the fridge over night, but it didn’t matter.)  Place the shredded cucumber in a towel and squeeze all the liquid out.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. This should keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Now to assemble the gyro, I grilled up the bread, spread two large dollops of tzatziki, piled on tomatoes, onions, lettuce, salt and pepper, followed by some sliced lamb.  Then I ate it.  Just like a Greek taco.


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