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Chicken gyros

Chicken thighs > chicken breasts. 9 times out of 10, that’s what I’ll use. Unfortunately, my grocery store was out of b/s chicken thighs. But since I was making chicken gyros, which I was planning on marinading for 24 hours, I figured using breasts would be ok. And they were, well, ok. Some parts were juicy, and others were just…ehh. Luckily, the flavor of the marinade really came through. And the chicken was nestled between homemade naan, tzatziki sauce, and veggies. So overall, good meal. Great marinade. But boo chicken breasts. Well, non-brined chicken breasts. I told Jacob to never let me cook chicken breasts in a skillet unless they are brined. Which I plan on doing for the remaining two chicken breasts in the fridge.

Naan is pretty much a softer pita bread, with extra tenderness from yogurt and milk. It was really good, and I didn’t have to stress about puffing, like I do with pita bread. It just gets nice and bubbly. Christine’s Cuisine has a stovetop version that uses oil instead of milk that I would like to try.

Chicken Gyros (Annie’s Eats and Beantown Baker)

Ingredients:

For the tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

Directions:
To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl.  Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible.

Shred the cucumber.  Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible.  Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Whisk together until mixed well.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler.  (I butterflied the chicken breasts and then cooked them under the broiler.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.   Cut into strips.

Heat pitas (I sprayed with some spray oil and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes).  Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions.  Serve immediately.

Naan (The Sister’s Cafe)

Ingredients:

14 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup milk

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl by hand), stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Increase machine speed to 2 (or by hand) and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into teardrop (mine were more like oval) shapes with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.

Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the naan and lay on a board. Serve warm with a nice curry. (The original recipe says to butter the naan with garlic butter after it comes out of the oven but I did this with the first batch and found it made the bread too greasy for my taste – we much preferred the bread soft and tender without the butter. Follow your tastes and do what you prefer!)

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