Oct 06 2010

Beef Gyros with Couscous Salad

Published by at 10:22 am under Food,Local food,Recipes,Resources/Vendors

I like to think of the definition of “eating well” as a checklist of wants: local, from a small family-owned business, organic, humane (which means different things depending on the type food), unprocessed, no fake stuff, high quality, etc.  We use these criteria when we can but, as a young couple, cost is still very much as issue for us.  We can’t afford everything we eat to satisfy all of those things in every bite that goes into our mouths but we try and as our income increases, we increase the quality of what we put into our bodies and who we support with our dollars.

You see that local is the first thing listed because I have a spot spot for the people around me but when that’s not possible, I look toward the other criteria to help direct my food choices.  And this is why I got excited when Foodie Blogroll featured a giveaway contest from Hearst Ranch.  I had never entered one of their contests before because, honestly, they sometimes feature products I wouldn’t eat.  But I entered this one and won, receiving 2 samples of grass-fed flank steaks.  Hearst Ranch is in California so, not local; these steaks had to make the long cross-country trip to get to me.  However, they are totally on board with all the other things Greg and I like in our food and have a really informative website about their philosophies and practices (I was particularly interested in their outline of the entire ranching process).

So, we wanted to do something fun with these steaks.  Flank steaks are long and flat and slightly tough, amenable to low and slow cooking or grilling only to medium doneness.  Lots of fajita recipes call for flank steak but after the tortilla soup, I wasn’t feeling a second round of Mexican.  I was craving Greek and I figured a gyro is basically the Greek version of a fajita.  Add in one of my favorite easy side dishes and the end result was a sort of Americanized Greek dinner.

Beef Gyros
Adapted from Lamb Gyros featured by Tammy’s Recipes
Serves 4

1 20-oz flank steak

For marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

5 cloves garlic, minced

For dry rub:
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

For assembly:
8 pitas
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Lettuce and tomato
Tzatziki sauce

Whisk together dry ingredients and pour into a zip-top bag.  Add steak to bag, remove as much air as possible and squish marinade to cover steak as thoroughly as possible.  Marinate for 2 hours.  Transfer steak to plate (or other flat surface) and rub all over with minced garlic.  In small bowl, combine dry rub ingredients and rub steak thoroughly with mixture, making sure to cover all surface area.  Heat grill to high and grill steak to medium doneness, about 5 minutes per side.  Let meat rest off the heat for 5-10 minutes then slice thinly on the bias.  Divide meat among pitas, either inside the pocket or wrapped in a folded pita, and dress with onion, lettuce, tomato and tzatziki sauce.

Couscous Salad
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 box couscous (we use Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil)
1/2 cup prepared Greek dressing
20 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, medium diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
4 oz feta cheese (we use reduced fat Athenos)
1/4 cup pine nuts

Cook couscous according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Just before water has been completely absorbed, stir in dressing.  For best flavor and texture, transfer couscous to large bowl and chill at least two hours then stir in all other ingredients and serve.  If pressed for time, other ingredients can be stirred into warm couscous and served immediately.

Of course authentic gyros are made with lamb but the marinade and seasoning of this recipe were terrifically suite to beef.  Grass-feeding and free-ranging makes this beef leaner than what you’d fine at the grocery store so be careful not to over-cook or it can become tough and dry.  The flavor of the beef is outstanding–rich and earthy and totally complemented by the seasoning, likely because this is a flavor profile developed for lamb which has a stronger flavor than beef does.

The couscous is a great recipe for so many reasons.  It’s fast, it’s familiar, it can be scaled down for dinner or scaled up for parties.  It has Mediterranean flavors but they aren’t so exotic–this salad plays just as well with gyros as it does with burgers.

We have one more flank steak to play with–any ideas?  Greg is pushing for fajitas but I’m thinking there’s something more fun out there to try.

Disclaimer: The steaks featured by the post were provided free of charge with no purchase necessary by Hearst Ranch via a Foodie Blogroll contest.  Posting a recipe, a review or any comments at all about Hearst Ranch was NOT a condition of winning the contest and was solely at the discretion of the author.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Beef Gyros with Couscous Salad”

  1. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queenon 07 Oct 2010 at 2:50 pm

    This looks so good! I love the idea of beef gyros using flank steaks! Congrats on your win!

  2. Lindseyon 07 Oct 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks! We don’t love the taste of lamb so the beef was a great substitution. And I was so psyched to win the steaks. We try to eat as best we can but ethical beef is so expensive! I’ll take two free steaks any day!

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