Shawarma Simplified

Shwarma_Claybackground_croppedThe end of the year is always the time for lists. One of my favorites is the most requested recipes of the year. Yes, we can look ahead to food-trend predictions, but what did people really eat, or at least plan on eating, with those downloaded recipes? Last year the New York Times food  section reported that the second most popular download for 2015 was a Chicken Shawarma recipe by food editor Sam Sifton.

Holiday lunch with friends

Since discovering this recipe I have made a vegetable-enhanced modification to it a dozen times. Easy, delicious, and a great meal for a crowd. Serve it with toasted eggplant, Greek yogurt with a swirl of harissa, and add fresh cucumber, olives,  and tomatoes and you are set with a feast!

The best part of this dish is that you don’t need an open-air spit to cook your meat and you don’t need more than two hours from start to finish, including the marinade (you may marinade longer, of course). The ingredients are simple and can easily be varied.

Preheat oven to 400-425 degrees.

Into a large bowl, add juice from the two lemons, olive oil, minced garlic, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Quickly toast and grind cumin and coriander seed mix if you don’t have already (takes less than 5 minutes and improves the flavor considerably).  Add 3-4 Tablespoons to the above mixture in the bowl, and save what you have left in a sealed jar for another recipe.

Give the mixture a stir and add the chicken pieces, coating them all. Set aside for thirty minutes. If you want to do this step ahead or marinade for over 30 minutes, return chicken to the refrigerator. Turn the chicken periodically so all pieces stay coated in the marinade. You may do up  to this point a day ahead.

Slice onions, peppers, both sweet and mild green pepper(s), and  spread on sheet pan with small drizzle of olive oil, no more than 1-2 teaspoons.
Sshwarma_vegetables.jpg If you choose to add other vegetables here like sliced cherry tomatoes, do so now and include them with the onion/pepper mix.

Roast on sheet pan (without parchment) for 15 minutes until vegetables are partially cooked. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.

Place pieces of chicken onto the sheet pan used for the vegetable and several tablespoons of the remaining marinade. Roast chicken for 15-20 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and turn chicken over and add the pepper onion mixture and roast until chicken is done, about another 15 minutes.
Shwarma_vegetables.jpgTake pan from oven. Chicken can be sliced on the diagonal and crisped up a bit in a cast iron skillet for another five minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of high heat oil if the outside of the chicken appears dry.  Combine with vegetables and place on a platter or serve in the skillet. Rough chop parsley and dust the top of the dish.
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