Souvlakia -- two recipes

The gyros served on the streets of Athens, New York, and Istanbul are made from specially-pressed meat which is put on the skewer when it is processed. These two variations for home-made gyros use ground and cubed meat.

Ground Meat Gyros

(Adapted from Vilma Liacouras Chantiles, The Food of Greece.)

Ingredients Directions
  • 2 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 2 slices homemade bread, toasted and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon allspice, pounded (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh savory, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 6-8 pitas, or any substitute bread or roll
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped or sliced thin and seasoned with vinegar and olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

In a large bowl, combine the above ingredients up to and including the salt and pepper, and knead thoroughly. Mixture should be spicy but not too herby, and hold its shape. Break into 5 sections, each the size of a navel orange, then break each section into 6 balls. Knead and flatten slightly to a thickness of about ¾ inch. Cut the bacon slices into widths equal to the meatballs and place a slice on each one. Continue shaping the balls, keeping the slices of bacon between them. Slip a cane skewer through the centers and roll gently with the palms to smooth the edges (you will need 5 or 6 skewers total, depending on their size).


    O = meatball, ) = bacon slice

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To cook, set on a broiler tray or grill and cook over/under moderate heat, turning every 5 minutes. The surface will be crusty and the inside cooked within 25 minutes.

To serve, put out the pita, meat, tomatoes, parsley and yogurt in separate dishes. Let guests open the bread or rolls and stuff them with meat and garnishings to their taste. You may want to strain the yogurt by putting it in cheesecloth in a colander or hanging over the sink; it will give off a lot of liquid in an hour or even less. Serves: 6 or 7.

Marinated Souvlakia

(Adapted from Haralambos Georgiou, Rebetikoi Mezedes kai Lihoudies (Rebetes' Snacks and Delicacies). Rebetes, a difficult-to-translate concept, denotes persons with a lifestyle that includes enjoying the drinking of ouzo and eating of accompanying hors d'oeuvres. See Gail Holst, The Road to Rebetika.)

Ingredients Directions
  • 1 kilo tender lamb
  • 75 grams (2-3 ounces) onion, sliced
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) carrot, sliced
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) celery
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 pinch rosemary
  • 1 pinch coriander
  • 4 pinches rigani (Greek wild oregano), or regular oregano
  • 2 pinches cloves
  • 4 pinches black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a little chopped parsley
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 2-4 dessertspoons [a little smaller than a teaspoon] salt
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • 75 grams (2 tablespoons or so) olive oil
  • 125 grams (about ½ cup) white wine or water

Cut the meat into small cubes. In a bowl, preferably earthenware, mix the marinade ingredients well and add the meat, mix again, cover and leave to marinate for 24 to 48 hours. The recipe actually calls for marinating in a kioupi or earthenware storage jar rather than a bowl; a bowl in the refrigerator would be fine.

When ready to cook, thread the meat on 18 to 24 skewers. Grill over embers of vine branches. Serve hot.

Return to Sheep's Creek Farm Lamb Recipes page.

© 1998 Ronald Florence
Last modified: 31-Oct-2001 17:48:17 EST