I know bad things always come in three, but there was something in the way that 2016 stalked its way through killing so many of my friends that I feared George, Carrie and Debs wouldn’t be the final ones to find themselves in a coffin.
Or an urn shaped like a prozac. Fuck I miss you Caz.
Anyway, I arrived in LAX for the Caz and Debs final double act – Meryl’s singing was spectacular and nothing at all like Florence Foster Jenkins / Mamma Mia – and hurriedly got on my phone, fearing that Diana probably succumbed to her death at the hands of the murderous year.
“Hello, love child.”
“Oh no, my dear sweet Tracee – mummy’s gone, isn’t she? She dead, sweetie?”
I started to cry uncontrollably.
“Ben? Dear Ben, is that you? It’s Diana, why are you acting all upside down?”
“WHAT?! Di, you didn’t die? The cruel mistress of 2016 didn’t take you off to the endless love?”
I started to cry uncontrollably, again. This time from relief.
“No baby love, thankfully I’ve kept hanging on. I figure one legend needs to survive the year to watch over Betty White.”
With such wisdom, I knew Diana had survived for a greater purpose and after sobbing into the phone for a further twenty minutes when I realised I wouldn’t be able to use my inheritance to pay off my massive gambling debt, I invited myself over to cook her up something fresh and healthy to start her new year on the right track.
Obviously that meant stuffing her with a big fat Diana Yiros.
It should not come as a shock that I love any meal that is phallocentric but there is something about a yiros that makes it extra special. Maybe it is the juicy meat, slathered in creamy tzatziki oozing out of the end?
Yep, that is definitely it. Enjoy!
4 fresh (or store bought, I guess) pita breads
juice and zest of a lemon
1 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 4 for the marinade and 1 for the tzatziki
500g chicken thighs
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 225°C.
Combine the lemon zest and all but 1 tbsp of juice (that is for the tzatziki), oregano, chilli, salt, pepper, olive oil and four of the garlic cloves in a large bowl. Stir to combine, add the thighs and mix again to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for half an hour or so.
While they thighs are getting juiced, wash (if needed) the potatoes and cut into long, thick battens. Place on a lined baking sheet, toss in a lug of olive oil and place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until you’ve got golden, crisp chips. Flip once halfway through to ensure an even brown.
While the thighs are finishing off marinating, combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, remaining garlic and reserved lemon juice in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender. Season to taste, cover and whack in the fridge.
This is probs a good time to prepare the tomato, red onion and parsley if you didn’t do that up front. Just saying.
Anyway, heat a large skillet over high heat and quickly cook the pitas on either side and transfer to a plate. When the pan is nice and hot, reduce to a medium-low heat and add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes, turning once. Remove from the pan to rest for five minutes and shred into small pieces.
To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some chicken and another slather of tzatziki (and feta, if you have any left over).
Wrap tightly and shove into your gob, to devour.