From late-night eats to street food discoveries, festival treats and even the odd fine dining experience – everyone loves gyros. Fresh charred pita mingles with smoky tender morsels of meat, sauces, pickles if you like, tangy yoghurt, underpinned with a creamy lemony nutty hummus – flavour heaven. We have reimagined this into the perfect party food experience, our little gyros are delicious and rib-sticking, and a great way to celebrate spring lamb. Serve as shared plates or DIY canapés.
1.6kg lamb shoulder on the bone
1 tablespoon tomato powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or your favourite chilli
2 teaspoons salt
Perfect lemony hummus
200g dried chickpeas
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb soda
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup tahini
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons sweet smoky paprika
Extra virgin olive oil
250ml lukewarm water (approx. 37°C)
7g dried yeast
390g plain flour
25ml olive oil
1 punnet tiny cherry tomatoes (the Tomberry variety is great for canapé-sized gyros)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Toasted fennel seeds
1. For the rub
Using a spice grinder, blitz the dry rub ingredients to a powder. Sprinkle half the dry rub over the lamb shoulder and rub into every crevice, adding more rub if required (keep leftover rub in a jar – it makes a delicious seasoning for kebabs and other barbequed meats). Wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
2. To smoke the meat
Smoking is an art form and every smoker has its idiosyncrasies. We smoked our lamb using hickory chunks in a barrel smoker for 6 hours, 1 hour at 150°C and 5 hours at 100°C, turning once halfway through. Wrap and rest the meat for 20 minutes, then thinly slice.
3. For the hummus
Drain the chickpeas, put them into a large saucepan, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb, and cover with cold water. Bring the water to the boil and reduce to a gentle simmer, cook the chickpeas until they are incredibly tender, this will take about 2 hours but depending on the chickpeas could take as long as 4 hours (replenish the water as required) – this step can also be done in a pressure cooker. They should yield to a soft paste when gently squeezed between your fingers. Set aside to cool in the cooking water. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
Mix the tahini, with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, crushed garlic, cumin, paprika and 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid to form a loose paste. Add to a food processor with your chickpeas and process until you have a loose velvety paste. Taste and adjust garlic, lemon, spices, and seasoning according to your liking. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and set aside. The hummus will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.
4. For the pita bread
Measure the water into a jug, sprinkle over the yeast and set aside for 15 minutes until foamy. While the yeast is activating, add the flour and salt to a bowl and whisk briefly to combine. Pour in the water yeast mix and 20ml of olive oil, using your hands bring it together into a shaggy dough, kneading for a couple of minutes until all the flour is absorbed and you have a rough, slightly sticky ball of dough. Coat with the remaining olive oil, cover and leave to prove in a warm spot for 1-2 hours (the time will depend on warmth and humidity) until about doubled in size.
Turn onto a floured workbench and divide into 16 even balls (each should weigh about 50g), loosely cover and rest for 20 minutes.
While the dough balls are resting. Pre-heat the oven to 240°C with a baker’s stone or a cast iron flat griddle in it (this provides the extra heat to puff up the pockets).
Cut 16 x 10cm squares of baking paper. To cook the pita’s, gently roll each ball into a 10cm round and place onto a piece of baking paper. Bake the pitas on the stone or griddle, 3-4 at a time for about 2 minutes each. They are done when puffed and lightly golden. Transfer to a tray covered with a clean towel while you cook the rest. The pitas can be cooked several hours in advance, cooled and stored in an airtight container, to refresh spritz lightly with water and char quickly on a hot griddle or BBQ plate.
5. For the tomatoes
Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt into a small pan and toss. Heat under a hot grill until the tomatoes have caramelised and are starting to blister. Set aside.
6. To serve
Serve the pitas stuffed with labne, lamb, pickles, hummus, hot sauce, a sprinkle of toasted fennel, mint and a spoonful of jammy blistered tomatoes – or let your imagination run wild. Think crispy potato straws, haloumi fingers, popped capers etc.
As seen in Spring 2022