LOOKING for: gyros and speidies

san_March 17, 2007

i love both of these items and have tinkered around with several different recipes but haven't found one that was just what i was looking for. and it can't be all that difficult if the best speidie i ever had anywhere was from a little bar in binghamton, ny! so if you have a recipe for either dish that you really like, i'd love if you would post it here! thank you!

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Here's a recipe from an old church cookbook in Johnson City, NY, the heart of speidies territory.


2 cups olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, cut fine
1/4 tsp. sweet basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion owder
1/4 tsp. red pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup red wine, optional
4-5 lbs. beef, cut into cubes

Mix together all ingredients except meat. Pour over meat; mix well. Marinate for 2 days in refrigerator. Stir occasionally. Put meat on skewers; cook over hot coals. Can also use pork, lamb or veal.

I was about 16 the first time I ever tasted gyros and I loved them. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to buy them in the area where I lived. So my aunt and I started on a long quest to make our own. After finding and testing recipes (not easy in those pre-internet days), this is the one we've made ever since then.


1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 Tbs. boiling water
1 Tbs chopped (very fresh) garlic
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sweet marjoram
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 1/2 lbs. ground lamb, at least 1/6 fat by weight
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/4 lb. fresh pork fat
pita bread

Slightly crush the fennel seeds and soak in the boiling water for 15 minutes.

Process the garlic and onions together in a food processor or blender. Add the bread crumbs and eggs and mix until just combined. Add the fennel seeds and water, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne and blend for 1 minute.

Combine the garlic mixture with the lamb, beef and parsley. Mix until thoroughly combined but do not overmix. Fry a small amount to check the seasonings and add more if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice the pork fat and place a single layer on the bottom of a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan. Spoon in the meat mixture and top with another layer of pork fat. Cover the pan with foil. Crimp it near the top, or water could seep into the loaf.

Place the loaf pan in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Do not let the loaf pan float. You might need to put a custard cup weighted with dry beans on top if it floats. Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, until cooked through but not dry.

Remove the pork slices on top. Do not drain the fat that forms around the loaf, as it helps to preserve the meat. Replace the foil and set another loaf pan, right side up, on top of the loaf, Weight it by putting several cans, or a large peanut butter jar filled with water in the empty loaf pan. Weight the loaf for 2 to 3 hours, then remove the weights.

Refrigerate, then unmold when chilled. Wrap in plastic wrap, then foil, and store in the refrigerator.

To serve, thinly slice the meat and grill or broil until the edges are slightly crispy. Some of the fat will melt out. You can also put the whole chilled loaf on the rotisserie attachment of a grill and cut slices off as it chars. Stuff into pita bread and serve with the usual accompaniments, like garlic yogurt sauce.

Gyro loaf will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week if tightly wrapped or frozen up to 3 months.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 1:41PM
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thanx very much, ruthanna! the speidie recipe doesn't specify the type of beef. i was thinking of using something like a NY shell sirloin steak or sirloin beef tips. what sorts of cuts would you recommend?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 2:22PM
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I've made them with pork, lamb and chicken but never with the beef so I'm not sure what cut would be best. I most often use a pork loin roast cut into cubes. I'm not a big fan of speidies in general but my DH likes them a lot.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 4:05PM
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thanx VERY much, ruthanna! i halved your recipe and made it with a NY shell sirloin steak. it was by FAR the closest and best recipe i've had for speidies!

the ones i wanted to replicate were simply marinated and grilled bits of (i believe) pork, served on small slices of italian bread. as it turned out, i didn't have the bread but some soft tortillas--not really what i wanted. but i briefly heated them in a spritz of oil in a skillet and spread on a little tzatziki sauce and added some chopped romaine and cherry tomatoes. that really was QUITE satisfying but both ted and i ate a couple pieces of the grilled beef, all by itself, for "dessert". that recipe is definitely a keeper--thanx!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 11:19PM
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I used to live 40 miles from "Spiedieland" in Binghamton. We'd go up once a month to get them. The store we got them at used to marinate pork tenderloin chunks, beef tenderloin chunks & veal or lamb. In fact, here in my city, is a store owned by folks who moved here from Binghamton about 8 yrs ago. Fab food items & they carry the Binghamton spiedie marinade!! You can even order online.
As for cooking-I just put them on metal skewers and grill them. Make sure you get a delicious hoagie bun & brush it with EVOO then grill till golden crispy.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Amish Country Store

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 11:27PM
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