I love donairs, however, with money being tight (hello employment insurance), it means $10 for a single donair or $10 for donairs for everyone is a no brainer.
There are no expensive or hard to find ingredients in a donair, which is nice.
Basically, a donair is a wrap, some spiced beef, some vegetables and the sauce – pretty simple stuff.
This fed 3 adults with leftovers.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves of garlic, or more…or less
- fresh ground pepper – I put in at least 1/2 tsp
- oregano – at least 1 tsp
- basil – at least 1 tsp
- paprika – 1/2 tsp, or more, or none at all
If you aren’t being lazy like I was, you mix all this together and beat the tar out of it for a while. Grab the mixed meat and slam it into a bowl at least 10 times, but more if you’re having a bad day. Then you are supposed to make a loaf out of it….it compresses the meat together and, once baked and cooled, you can slice off pieces, reheat them and load up your pita. I was not doing this, so I just cooked the ground beef & spiced it….it’s going to the belly, the belly doesn’t care.
The sauce, as usually done, never works for me. Never. In theory, you should be able to get some milk, add some sugar, add some vinegar and garlic powder and voila! Thickened sauce. What I get is weird milk.
So my fix is either to use sweetened condensed milk, vinegar and garlic powder, or make sweetened condensed milk, then add the vinegar & garlic powder. Sweetened condensed milk is actually ridiculously easy to make so that’s what I did.
- 2 cups milk, I used 2%, but you could use pretty much any kind you want
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- saucepan & some patience (about half an hour worth)
- 4-6 TB white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or waaaaay more…..I’m certain I dumped in 2 teaspoons. It was really, really garlicky – felt pretty safe from vampires.
Add milk & sugar to pan, put on stove on about medium heat. Stir with a whisk and get it to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until it’s about half the volume of what you started with…..about 1 cup. You are cooking the water out so be patient….also, don’t boil it hard, you’ll make some caramel if you’re lucky and burn it if you aren’t – neither of these things makes good donair sauce.
As your milk cools, it thickens but it will probably not be quite as thick as store bought.
Once it’s cooled a tiny bit, add the vinegar (start with 4 TB) and powdered garlic. Put it in the fridge to cool completely while you chop vegetables.
I chopped a couple roma tomatoes, an onion, and some romaine lettuce. You could add some mozzarella cheese, as well.
Then you just need to assemble. We used large pitas. Spread some sauce on the bottom, add some beef, add the preferred vegetables, cheese if using and top with some more sauce. Roll up the bottom to cover the filling, fold over each side towards the middle and then complete the rest of the roll. Cut it in half or just go for broke and start at the top.
To contain the mess, you could wrap it in wax or parchment paper and just peel it down while you eat (there’ll be a puddle of sauce in the bottom). If you don’t do breads or just don’t have wraps/pitas and don’t want to go get any or make them, just make this into a donair bowl. A salad base with the meat, cheese and sauce on top – you won’t miss the wrap.
Try them, they’re simple, pretty quick (barring the half hour to make the condensed milk), inexpensive, reasonably healthy and produce minimal dirty dishes. Win/win!