Gyro Mac and Cheese

Gyro mac and cheese doesn't seem to exist yet on the internet which is really surprising to me. There is plenty of “Greek” mac and cheeses, but not a specifically gyro flavored one that I can find. There are a few ways you can go about it when creating a gyro mac and cheese, but I had something specific in mind. A homemade gyro meat mixed in with a tangy yogurt based sauce, and topped with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad. I decided that I wouldn't bake it like most homemade mac and cheeses, because everything seemed so fresh and flavorful that spending time in the oven would only negatively affect these ingredients. In the end I am very happy with how this came out and suggest it to anyone who loves these flavors and wants to try them in a new way!
This gyro recipe is pretty easy and produces an accurate at-home version of the famous meat. I looked at lots of different spice and herb ratios, but I ended up tailoring it to my preferences. I loaded it up with fresh marjoram, one of my favorite herbs! The meat needs to go into the food processor because regular ground lamb is too rough of a grind. The food processor just smooths it out a little and makes the meat form more of an even consistency when cooked. After the mixture cools for a bit, form a loaf and bake. The gyro tastes great right out of the oven, but there is one more step to make it taste more like the stuff you get at your favorite gyro place.
Lay the slices on a sheet pan and broil just to give them a little more color and texture. This helps simulate the rotating spit. Finally, mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl. This is an easy mac and cheese sauce with no real cooking involved. As long as the ingredients in this bowl are around room temperature, when you mix in the hot pasta the sauce will form itself!
Once the pasta is all mixed in with the sauce, add some broken up gyro slices. The recipe uses a pound of lamb, because it often comes in one pound packages, but I only used 3/4 of the finished gyro meat in the mac and cheese.
Top it with a simple tomato and cucumber salad. It’s really just tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley, and salt.
This is a really delicious mac and cheese and one of the most unique ones I have made in a while. The feta makes it really rich, but the yogurt adds a creamy tartness. The bright tomato salad helps cut right through the richness.
The savory lamb has just the right amount of floral notes from the marjoram and oregano to lightly perfume the entire dish.

Gyro Mac and Cheese

  • Gyro
  • 1 Pound Ground American Lamb
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Marjoram (chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon Rosemary (chopped)
  • 1/2 Onion (grated)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (grated)
  • Mac and Cheese
  • 1 Cup Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Jack Cheese
  • 8 Ounces Feta (get a nice chunk, not pre-crumbled)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 Pound Pasta / Noodles (I like cellentani for most mac and cheeses)
  • Salad
  • 1/2 Onion (the other half from before, diced)
  • 2 Tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 Cucumber (diced)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley

Instructions

  1. Put the lamb in the freezer while you prep all the rest of the ingredients. It should be around 10 minutes. Mix the lamb with the prepped ingredients first with your hands to incorporate, and then in the food processor. Process everything for about 30 seconds in pulses and sometimes longer until the meat becomes more paste like and the ingredients are all well combined, stopping to redistribute as needed.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325.
  3. Form the meat into a loaf on a sheet pan lined with foil. Bake for around 35 minutes until fully cooked through.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes if not longer. Slice into thin strips and lay them on a baking sheet. Broil for about 7 minutes paying attention not to burn but to just lightly brown the edges.
Salad
  1. Mix all of the salad ingredients. Salt to taste and allow to sit at least a half hour before using.
Mac and Cheese
  1. Put the yogurt, parsley, and jack into a bowl. Crumble in the feta, making sure to crumble it really well. Use a nice solid piece of feta in water instead of that pre-crumbled stuff for better meltability. Stir well. You want this to be room temperature by the time you add your pasta to it, so let it all sit on the counter while you bring water to a boil for your pasta. You could microwave for 15 second increments, stirring in between each, if you need to help it get to room temperature.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add in the pasta and cook to desired doneness. Strain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  3. Very immediately add the pasta to the yogurt mixture and stir well. Add in a splash of the pasta water to help the mixture form the sauce. Add more as needed.
  4. Break up the gyro into bite sized pieces with your fingers. you will only need about 3/4 of the amount of gyro meat you made. Save the rest of a sandwich! Mix the meat into the mac and cheese.
  5. Serve and top with the tomato salad.