Sunday, March 16, 2008

Greek Pitas

These pitas were so delicious, and perfect recipe for use of the ground chuck I had in the fridge. I originally had no idea what to do with the meat. I didn't want to make some of the same old recipes that I have. So I went to where I usually go when I need some inspiration for a recipe, Cooks Illustrated.

I always find what I'm looking for on that site. The best part is these recipes are tested to ensure the a fool proof end product.
The recipe was relatively quick to make once the yogurt for the tzatziki had been drained. I think I may omit the oil for the frying next time though, my meat had enough fat rendered in the pan that it didn't really need the additional Tbs. of oil.
I cut up some tomatoes, shredded some lettuce, added some fabulous feta cheese, and stuffed all of it in the toasted pita, and enjoyed a very nice Greek sandwich.

Greek Pita
For Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt ( I used lowfat)
1/2 medium cucumber , peeled, seeded, and diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves or dill

For Beef Patties
4 (8-inch) pita breads (see note above)
1/2 medium onion , chopped coarse (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 3 teaspoons)
1 pound 80 percent lean ground chuck
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. For the Tzatziki Sauce: Line fine-mesh strainer set over deep container or bowl with 3 paper coffee filters or triple layer of paper towels. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice in colander set over bowl and let stand 30 minutes.

3. Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, and mint in clean bowl.

4. For the Patties: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top quarter off each pita bread. Tear quarters into 1-inch pieces. (You should have 3/4 cup pita pieces.) Stack pitas and tightly wrap with aluminum foil. Process onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and pita bread pieces in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl; add beef and gently mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Gently flatten balls into round disks, about 1/2 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

5. Place foil-wrapped pitas directly on oven rack and heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned and crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, reduce heat to medium, and cook until well browned and crust forms on second side, about 5 minutes longer. (See below for tips on flipping patties.) Transfer patties to paper towel-lined plate.

6. Using soup spoon, spread 1/4 cup Tzatziki Sauce inside each pita. Divide patties evenly among pitas; top each sandwich with tomato slices, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, and 2 tablespoons feta. Serve immediately.


Erin said...

This sounds and looks soooo good! I will have to try it! I love tzatziki sauce and have never attempted to make it!

Jaime said...

yum! i love greek pitas. i've never made them at home though; would love to try your recipe :)

Anonymous said...

This looks so good! I really like Greek food but hardly ever get to eat it. I will have to try this sometime!

That Girl said...

After 2 years of searching I FINALLY found a store that sells ground lamb - I know you made this with beef, but I'm bookmarking it to try with the lamb!

Anonymous said...

Yummy! This looks SO good! I could go for one of these right now. You always make food I CRAVE! Mmm...

SaraLynn said...

Yum! I just posted a version of this today! Mine is with chicken though :)