"In the early 70's, a Greek restaurateur in the city of Halifax introduced the donair. Within a few short years, virtually all pizzerias had added their version of the dish to their menus. Not to be confused with gyros, the donair has a vastly different flavour. Originally the dish was made with ground lamb, but this proved too costly and ground beef was later substituted. Technically, this resulted in an aberration of sorts, as the final product was not what the originator had intended. What resulted, however, is the legendary East Coast Donair."
I have always loved donairs. I remember being introduced to them as a teenager, lunching at a local Lebanese restaurant during high-school. Years later, finding ourselves on the west coast and making late night snack runs to the best donair place in Victoria. Then spending time in Halifax, and being torn between eating every donair in the city or filling up on the fabulous Greco's pizza, which is also unique to the East Coast.. This is the best recipe I could find that replicates the unique taste experience that is the Genuine East Coast Donair.
Genuine East Coast Donair
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons white vinegar, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a cup or small bowl, mix together the salt, oregano, flour, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
Place the ground beef in a large bowl, and use your hands to blend in the spice mixture. If you want the smooth texture of meat that you see in a real donair shop, you must do this in a steel mixing bowl and on a sturdy surface. Pick up the meat, and throw it down with force about 20 times, kneading it after each throw. This also helps the meat hold together better when you slice it.
Form the meat into a loaf, and place it on a broiler pan. If you do not have one, a baking sheet will do.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, turning the loaf over about half way through. This will ensure even cooking. This cuts better if you chill the meat overnight before slicing.
To make the donair sauce, mix together the evaporated milk, sugar and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the white vinegar, adding 1 teaspoon at a time, until thickened to your desired consistency.
Serve thin meat slices on warm pita with sauce, freshly chopped tomato and onion.
So many things capture my interest and I love, in no particular order, taking photos, cooking a great meal for my crew, drinking coffee, staying up late reading, being a hockey and soccer mama, fresh linens, snow days, a clean kitchen, vanilla candles, scrapbooking, lazy days at the beach, and finding the magic in everyday things with my large family of eight!