Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Mark Bowden cooks Lamb Gyros with Marti / Marti's Music Kitchen #31

By MARTI MENDENHALL // Mark Bowden, guitarist, writer, producer, and one of the top nationally known go-to musicians cooks with Marti and is joined by his partner Rachel and singer Karen Lovely. They'll make his famous, pocket-friendly Lamb Gyros with Tzatziki (Rachel's) sauce.

Welcome to Marti’s Music Kitchen, the Fun Music and Food Podcast, where anything can happen!  Today’s guest is Mark Bowden, guitarist, writer, producer, and one of the top nationally known go-to musicians.   He’s shared the stage with names like Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Booker T. Jones, Curtis Salgado, and the list goes on.

Not only is Mark an accomplished musician, he also runs SonicButter PDX Studios,  producing everything from Rock and Pop to Alt Country. When he’s not producing, he is on the road playing guitar, and collaborating with many other outstanding musicians. One of those is with the multi-award winning Blues artist and social activist, Karen Lovely, who Mark invited to join us. But wait, that’s not all, he is also a major foodie and LOVES to cook!

On the menu today, Mark’s famous, pocket-friendly Lamb Gyros with Tzatziki sauce, made by his partner, Rachel. His specialty for this dish is homemade pita bread. He makes it so easy, you’ll never want to buy grocery-made again!  Let’s see if we can get Mark and Karen to spill the secrets of music and food on an international scale.  Come with me into this mouth-watering episode … and let’s get cooking!


LAMB GYROS: (makes 8 gyros)

Lamb Filling:

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (1 for the marinade, 2 for the skillet)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Combine the above ingredients and let marinate in a closed container 12-24 hours
  • Additional fillings:
  • Large Romaine lettuce leaves (1 per pocket)
  • 2 - 3 to 4” fresh cucumber spears (2 per pocket)
  • Chopped Roma tomatoes (1 tbsp per pocket)
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese (1 tbsp per pocket)
  • Optional: Chopped spring onions or shallots (1 tsp per pocket)
  • Rachel’s Tzatziki Sauce (1 tbsp per pocket)


  1. Make the lamb marinade. You can also substitute high quality beef for lamb. I suggest using prime or choice rib eye if you do. The meat needs the inherent fat content to make it tender and moist.
  2. While the meat marinades, make the pitas following the attached Bittman recipe. I suggest using the baking stone method to get the proper pita texture. Do not over bake them or you will get pita crackers! It is best to bake these just before serving as the warmth and texture make for an ideal pita pocket.
  3. Make the Tzatziki sauce using Rachel’s recipe below.
  4. While the pitas cool slightly, add two tablespoons of quality virgin olive oil to a cast iron skillet. Set the heat to high. Brown the meat on all sides until medium rare.
  5. Assemble the cooked meat and fillings into the pita pockets and wrap in foil to hold together. Serve immediately. I typically lay out all the fillings alongside the pitas and let my guests assemble the gyros to preference. It makes for a fun party food!
  6. If serving as a summer dish, pair these with a good Oregon Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc. If in the fall or winter, pair with a nice Oregon Pinot Noir!

Notes: The onions are optional but I prefer them as they play nicely off the spiced meat. I use Roma tomatoes for their flavor and lower moisture content. If you like a crunchier Gyro you can use the firmer, inner Romaine leaves at the center of the head. I find Romaine has a better flavor than the typical iceberg lettuce choice. If you are vegetarian or GF, you can sub in a good falafel recipe for the meat. I’ve had great success with GF pitas. Bob’s Red Mill has a number of different options for GF flours combinations. Experiment!

Mark Bittman’s Pita Bread Recipe: https://www.markbittman.com/recipes-1/pita

Makes 6-12 Pitas, cook/prep time at least 2 hours. Somewhat unattended!

 Mark Bowden’s Tips/Tricks on Making Pita Bread:

Always use a good quality bread flour such as Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. I typically use 1.5x the recommended amount of yeast and select the Fast Acting variety. I find it easiest to mix the dough in a Kitchen Aid style table mixer. Mix it just enough to get to the clumped sticky stage. Then turn the dough out on to a floured baker's mat and kneed it by hand until the dough has a satiny patina and springs back to the touch. When making GF dough always follow the recommended instructions on the Bob's Red Mill package as GF dough is a different beast altogether!

 Use a baking stone and pre-heat it for a good 30 minutes or more! Keep the temperature at 350 degrees max. I find it easy to transfer rolled rounds from the counter to the oven using a wooden pizza peel lightly sprinkled with corn meal. The rounds slide right off the peel on to the stone with ease and having the cornmeal in the pita gives it a bit of texture. Do not overcook the rounds! 3-5 minutes per side max! If you brown them you will have pita crackers!


DAY AHEAD of making (optional, but ensures a better texture) :

  • Chop 1 English Cucumber, sprinkle generously with course sea salt, and let drain in the fridge using a strainer or cheesecloth over a bowl to collect moisture.


  • In food processer, combine until smooth:
  • 1 - 7oz pkg Fage Total 5% Milkfat Yogurt
  • 1 chopped and drained English Cucumber (see above)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 peeled cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of salt and pepper (to taste really)
  • 2 sprigs of dill
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • Let sit covered in fridge for at least 4 hours to develop texture. (You could eat it right away, it will just be a little runny)
  • Serve on everything!


 2/1 tribute show at Rev Hall celebrating George Harrison’s 50th Anniversary for “All Things Must Pass,” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/george-harrisons-all-things-must-pass-a-50th-anniversary-celebration-tickets-73901436185,


 Website: https://sonicbutter.com/ABOUT

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sonicbutterpdx

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sonicbutterpdx

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mbcaster/

Karen Lovely website: https://www.karenlovely.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karenlovely.official

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenlovely


Marti’s website: http://MartiMendenhall.com

Marti’s Patreon: http://Patreon.com/MartiMendenhall

Marti’s Music Kitchen Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MartisMusicKitchen/


#MarkBowden #KarenLovely #  #CascadeBluesAssociation #Award #portland #MartiMendenhall #MartisMusicKit #Cooking #Podcast #Recipe #PDXEats #Lamb #Gyros #Pita #Tzatziki #Chelsea #Bostonian #MikesPastry #Guitarmageddon #StevePringleMemorial #IcelandBlues #ElizabethFraser #Producer


Post a comment:

Your Name:

Your Email Address:


2000 characters remaining



Web Design and Web Development by Buildable