… But please understand that one man’s DONER KEBAB, is another man’s SOUVLAKI, is another man’s GYRO, is another man’s SHAWARMA, is another man’s SHASHLIK, is another man’s CHUANR, is another man’s KATI ROLL, is another man’s TACO, etc. (and when I say man, I also mean woman or just “human”) so I didn’t really know what exactly to call this, so it is what it is : a BRAISED & SHREDDED MEATS PITA SANDWICH WITH VEGETABLE TOPPINGS AND A TZATZIKI SAUCE.
Historically speaking, using a round flatbread, whether smaller or larger or thicker or thinner and topping it with cooked meats, roasted and grilled, horizontally or vertically, skewered or not, or braised and sliced or shredded, and adding vegetable toppings and a sauce on top to finish it off, is originally an idea from the Mediterranean region, later exported to the rest of the world by those Mediterranean (especially Near- Eastern) travellers, several centuries ago and modified and adapted to local tastes and to available products.
Of course, this type of preparation is something you usually enjoy outside or away from your home, as street food, because who has a vertical or even horizontal rotisserie at home (the barbecue is a pretty good option though) so here’s my solution (whether you like it or not)to make a tender meaty sandwich, but using your own domestic kitchen oven.
You’ll need small pita breads (see recipe here), you’ll need thick tzatziki (see recipe here) and you’ll need the braised meats and vegetable toppings too, so you’ll have to continue reading through this whole thing !
My approach is slightly different. It isn’t a skewered souvlaki or kebab, where you take a bite, one with a piece of cubed meat and the next bite probably with only vegetables. It isn’t a vertically roasted doner or gyro or shawarma, where the cooked meats are thinly sliced and more evenly distributed throughout the sandwich for that eating experience, but it is closer to a braised meat tacos el pastor, but without the lengthy preparation time and fuss required to achieve that level of perfection.
You’ll have to braise the meats first, shred the larger pieces, recuperate the remaining purée (in order to waste nothing), then quickly roast or broil the shredded meats and the remains, to crisp them up and then you prepare the rest of the toppings, assemble and serve.
I also chose to use green bell pepper for the braising as well as the topping, which is unusual, yet I feel it adds a wonderful summery feel and taste to this preparation and the fresh vegetable toppings are also sprayed with white vinegar and salted before using, for a more intense ‘punch’, like a quick & ever so subtle flash pickling process.
Obviously, I chose to present it flat, like a taco, (perhaps I did go overboard loading it up that way but I’m a “glutton”) and without rolling it up myself and wrapping it up, because it’s a home meal and not a preparation that you would get from a food truck nor a sidewalk stand, where you’re inevitably standing, eating and hoping not to get it all over your clothes and the side-walk, as opposed to sitting comfortably in your home. You’ll just have to use your nimble fingers and dexterous hands to fold it in half and chomp, chomp, chomp away.
Anyways, now I’ve given you a reason to make last week’s traditional tzatziki recipe (see it again here) and the means to have something equally delicious to put it on . . . :)