Donair: a kinduva gyro type spiced meat thingy that can be roasted on a skewer (or on a rack in the oven) and then shaved off onto a pita (à la your Gyro sammich).
Donair Sauce: the wicked tasty sauce you spread on your pita a) after you fry it, and
b) before you top it with your Donair meat – and, ermmm, mebbe after, as well.
The recipes for both come to us from the Canadian Maritimes, via All Things Donair, and I only changed things up a wee, tiny bit; by replacing some of the ground beef called for with ground turkey to lighten things up.
And you know what? It’s pretty good!
But, you need the sauce, which really makes the whole sammich come together, and you need to fry the pita after dipping it in water.
•1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
•1/2 cup white vinegar
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1-1/4 lb ground beef
•20 oz ground turkey
•3/4 cup bread crumbs
•2 tsp black pepper
•1-1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1-1/2 tsp oregano
•3 tsp paprika
•2 tsp onion powder
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp salt
First things first, make the Donair Sauce by stirring the sweetened condensed milk together with the vinegar, garlic powder and white pepper (an immersion blender works a treat for this). The finished sauce will be quite thick, think sour cream consistency.
Turn into a covered container and stash in the fridge while we make the meat.
Ermmm, this is gonna take a while…
Heat your oven to 300º.
Combine the bread crumbs and seasonings in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse to blend well.
Add the ground beef and ground turkey and blend until blended and well chopped.
Note: you really cannot skip the food processor chopping because you’re gonna want the meats to be very finely textured so that, once baked, you can slice it and fry it (to get the crispity edges Donair aficionados prefer) and it won’t fall apart.
Once your meat and spices have been well and truly chopped to little, tiny pieces in the processor, turn the mixture out into a bowl and kinda squish it around with your hands so that everything is indeed well and truly blended. The ATD folk say to do this for 20 minutes, but I quit after around five, and all worked well, so you do what you want.
Line a baking pan with foil, then place a rack in it and apply cooking spray.
Divide the meat into two loaves, place on the rack, and bake for two to two and a half hours, until done.
Allow the meat to cool before making your sammiches.
To put it all together, thinly slice the Donair meat and brown in a bit of oil in a hot skillet (to get those crispity edges).
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm while you move on to the last step, frying the pita bread.
Which isn’t really ‘frying’ – so don’t get all worried about your cholesterol levels going up…
Dip the pita in a shallow bowl filled with water, then immediately toss onto a hot skillet to lightly toast and soften the bread – mebbe a minute or two per side. Remove the ‘fried’ pita to a plate and keep warm while you prepare the rest of the bread.
To make a Donair sammich, slather the fried pita with a bit of the sauce, then top with the fried meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, whatever you like, and top with more of the Donair sauce.
You could also add some shredded Mozzarella to the Donair meat just before it’s ready to come out of the skillet, then remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let rest for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Other options include making a Donair sub instead of the pita, or a Donair ‘za!, which you’d make by sprinkling some shredded mozz over a cooked pizza crust, then topping with sliced Donair meat, tomatoes, sliced onion, and more cheese on top, then baking until you’re happy with the way it looks. Serve the ‘za! with plenty of sauce to spread over each slice.
Go ahead and prepare to eat like they do late at night in the Maritimes, you won’t be sorry you did, but you might not wait until late at night.