Aphorisms from the Professor: Brillat-Savarin

Sunday, September 12, 2010

lamb gyros

This weekend we've been all around the world with lamb. Tonight's dinner started with a mission: use cucumbers. This has got to be the least versatile vegetable. Now, I like a good cucumber salad as much as the next person, but one can only make so many such salads, and we've been getting 4-6 cucumbers a week for the last month (at least).

So this afternoon I used two of our (giant!) cucumbers to make tzatziki. Although the actual "making" is quite fast - really you just blend everything together - the whole process from start to finish takes a few hours because there is a lot of draining involved. That is, lots of letting ingredients sit in paper towel on a colander to get out all the liquid. This is really important if you want a tzatziki with the consistency of dip, not soup. Ours came out okay, but I think I needed to get more water out of the cucumbers pre-blender. I read online that some people salt the cucumber before draining, and I think this is probably critical to getting all the liquid out of a very watery veggie. We ended up doing another "draining" of our tzatziki post-blend, and the consistency still wasn't perfect. (Check out the full tzatziki recipe at the end of the post)

To use our dip as part of dinner, we did the obvious thing - gyros! I was actually extremely impressed with how authentic the lamb tasted with just a few simple spices - oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin. The only spice that is usually involved in gyros that we didn't have was marjoram, but this didn't seem to make a huge difference.

Lamb gyro (lamb, tomato, red onion and tzatziki served in warm pita) with a side of roasted yellow squash and potatoes

- 16 oz Greek yogurt
- 2 large cucumbers, peeled
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- lemon juice and salt, to taste

- put yogurt in a colander lined with paper towel and let drain for at least 1 hour
- ditto with chopped cucumber (try salting first for better drying out)
- blend all ingredients until smooth
- refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving


  1. I am always way too impatient to do all the draining. I recently decided that for a slightly richer tzatziki with more body I could mix in a bit of sour cream, which is generally a bit thicker than yogurt and that helps with consistency issues without having to do all the draining. It's probably not authentic, but you know that sour cream can do no wrong!

  2. Even with the extra or added prep time, this dish looks like it is well worth all the effort. Your site has so many delicious recipes, keep up the good job!