Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gyro and Falafel

I'm not sure whether that title sounds more like the name of a law firm or a Cartoon Network show. But it's actually what I made for dinner tonight.

I found this recipe on BigOven, the cooking software/food networking that I prefer.


4 cups Garbanzo Beans - 2 cans
4 cloves Garlic - minced
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Onion - finely minced
1/4 cup Parsley Minced
1/4 cup Water
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 dash Cayenne
1/3 cup Flour

Rinse the garbanzos and drain them well. If they were canned, just drain them.

Combine all ingredients (except flour) in a food processor or a medium sized bowl and process or mash until batter is uniform. Add flour and stir/process until thoroughly combined. The batter can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for several days.

Preheat oven to 400?. Get a baking pan, cookie sheet, pie tin--whatever. Spray it with non-stick spray for best results and form the batter with a spoon into a flattened ball. It should not be much bigger than your spoon. For a falafel in a small pita bread, make 2-3 felafel patties. For a larger one, 4-5 will do. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes. You might flip them over halfway through baking. Theyre finished when they are golden brown. The aroma will fill your kitchen! Serve these in pita bread with sliced bell peppers, onions, tomatoes--whatever you'd like

My notes: This was a little bit too much for my food processor. Next time I'd split it into two smaller batches and then blend them by hand in a large mixing bowl.

The spices were a touch too strong, next time scale cumin back to 1.5 t. We liked them better flattened out as patties brushed with lemon juice and topped with some of the tzatziki. The flavor was good but the texture seems like it should be more crispy on the outside, cake like on the inside. Maybe they'd be better fried?

Not bad, but definitely needs tweaking. Hit me with your falafel suggestions.

Gyro's with Tzatziki
I used the recipe and technique that Alton Brown used (click the link for full recipe & instructions)in his Good Eats show. We've made it twice before and like it.

I rolled the mixture tight in saran wrap and rested it in the fridge for 4 hours to firm it up. I decided to cook it on the Big Green Egg like a fatty, which is sort of like Alton's rotisserie method.
I cooked it indirect at 300f with a drip pan underneath to catch drippings. My target temp was 350f, but I was low on lump charcoal and I needed to clean out around the fire box. It took approximately 90 minutes to reach 170f internal.
I let it rest for 10 minutes and then this is one area where I deviated. When you see gyro meat being cut normally, they are slicing from the top to the bottom, shaving it off. The crust is the best part so I wanted it to be more evenly distributed for every serving piece. So I sliced the gyro fatty in half lengthwise and then sliced that thinly. This is just 1/2 of the sliced meat.We ate them in pita pockets with thinly sliced red onion, tzatziki sauce, and chopped tomatoes. The flavor was brilliant, it made my mouth water biting into that first bite. Excellent! Given the amount it made this way, I will keep this in mind for buffet platters for parties or events.