Beef Gyros with Tzatziki
I wish I could somehow post the smell of this marinated beef. I need to dab my chin just thinking about it. Of course, I’ve always had a thing for the smell of wine-soaked cuisine…though I’m more of a beer drinker than a wine-bibber. Go figure.
So anyway, on to the recipe! I wanted to do something particularly delicious for Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d whip up something a la Grecque for dinner. The menu? Beef gyros with tzatziki dressing. Homemade hummus. Marinated goat cheese. Tapas. Everything turned out just loverly and I hope next time you’ve got the craving for a little Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll give these a try. The great thing with a dinner like this is that it can be as easy or fussy as you want it to be. Most grocery stores now offer all sorts of ready-to-eat tapas, from marinated cheeses to a variety of olives and preserved veggies. Personally, I almost always have a huge jar of marinated artichoke hearts in the fridge for just such an occasion (though if I’m honest, I have them for an afternoon snack on an almost daily basis). For this particular dinner, I happened to make the hummus, tzatziki, and marinated goat cheese, but you could put together a lovely meal with store-bought items and significantly less work. Do what makes you happy and keeps the peace in your house, I say.
Allow me a small reminiscence here.
I very clearly remember the first time I had goat cheese. I had just started working at the Pasta & Co. on Queen Anne and a co-worker offered me a bite of something on a cracker. I’d describe the taste like a slap in the face, except I don’t think I’d enjoy being slapped in the face. It was all at once tangy, pungent, savory, salty…purely delicious. What my co-worker had given me was a bite of our house-marinated Chevre. You’ll understand when I say I immediately purchased several slices of the stuff to take home after my shift. The marinade was really an amazing thing–extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Though the ingredients were simple, the flavors together somehow seemed greater than its parts. Since I had some fresh goat cheese just waiting patiently in the fridge, I decided I would try to duplicate my experience from memory. While I’m sure it wasn’t exact, the results were delicious just the same. I will share that one with you in a separate post. But for now, bring on the beef!
Beef Gyros with Tzatziki
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound flank steak, sliced into thin strips (about 1/4″ thick, or thinner if possible)
1 tablespoon butter
Thinly sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced red onion
Tzatziki (see recipe here)
Combine the wine, oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small glass bowl. Whisk to combine. Add your beef strips to a medium-sized zip-lock bag, pour in your red wine marinade, and then seal. Allow your beef to marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to half a day.
When you’re ready to get cooking, begin by removing the beef from the marinade and drain briefly on paper towels. (If the beef is overly wet, it will not sear in your hot pan; rather, it will stew and end up tough.) Set your beef aside and heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and when the foam subsides, cook your beef in two batches, regulating the temperature as needed to keep things sizzling. Cook each batch for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.
Now if you were ever-so-smart, you would have already warmed up your pita either in the oven (wrapped in foil) or in the microwave (under a slightly damp paper towel) so that it would be ready and waiting for that delicious cooked beef. Slice those warm pita open to make a pocket and then allow your dearly beloved to fill them up as they see fit with the beef, veggies, tzatziki, and feta.
Nutrition information per serving (1 pita with 4 oz meat, 1 cup veggies, 4 olives, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta, and 2 tablespoons tzatziki): 455 calories, 16.5 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 34 g protein