Friday, April 5, 2019

Oven roasted chicken shawarma

Having an arsenal of flavoring ideas does quite well for a visionless meal planner such as myself. Whether it's a marinade bath or a shake and bake rub, this one prep alone can make a dream out of grub preparation.

Let me begin by saying megapacks of chicken thighs/breasts are an essential part of busy weeks, particularly when you have other gigs outside the home. Not only are they super cheap, but the perfect foundation to build upon, often without much creative effort needed. A bundle of bold and bright flavors can doctor up almost anything.

That being said, in my kitchen, on a roll, 16 pieces of any limb of bird celebrate flavors of Mexico, China, Japan, Italy and at least 2 regions of India, before I bag them to the freezer. Not one of the two I mothered can deny that one or a couple of these make for A-class lunchboxes.

On to the topic. What is shawarma

Basted with cloves, nutmeg, oregano, and motley of seasonings key to Middle Eastern cooking, it is a sort of rotisserie preparation, where meat is roasted vertically for up to a day and brings out the tenderest, most flavorful results. In contrast to Western "tender" this meat maintains a structural integrity that's, well, foreign, to the latter. You won't be alone in thinking how unintentionally wronged you were after consuming roasts that never looked, tasted, smelled like such.

A shawarma plate possesses an expanse of flavor that is unparalleled to any other recipe I've really ever done. You'd think the chicken/beef/lamb so perfectly hugged by these exotic scents/smells/tastes was, of course, created for such a thing as this

You might just miss the exotic stand-up grill. In lieu, we our kitchen oven...on moderate high flame... to pretty much the same outcome. 

It's strong enough to take on myriad of prospects, with mix and match meats/skewers/ assorted veg platters, and an  array of sidecars.

And it might be the missing link to your weekly repertoire, whether dinner favorite or pin-worthy tiffin.

The best part? No advanced cooking skill, no foreknowledge of mystery barbecuing, no ninja chef training and no special equipment.
Boom. Boom. Pow!
Now, you just need a cape.

  • 6 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp finely minced ginger
  • 2 tsp finely minced parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp cayenne pepper/Indian red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp  za'atar
  • 2- 3 tsp shawarma seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • In a large bowl, prepare a marinade for the chicken by combining all the ingredients up to the chicken thighs.
  • Place chicken in bowl and toss well to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator for 1 hour. If it's being kept longer, skip the lemon juice and add in at the final hour of marinade.
  • When ready to take out, preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place chicken in a sheet pan, or rectangular baking pan covered in foil. Add all the juices of the marinade.
  • Spread all the pieces evenly and without overlap.
  • Bake until chicken is browned and charred along the edges, about 40-45 minute, testing to see if juices run clear once on slicing.*
  • Take out of oven and let rest for 5=8 minutes.
  • Slice and serve.
* For more burnt edges, turn the broiler to high and keep chicken in after baking time for an additional 3-5 minutes, checking in between so as not to burn. Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

To serve this meal:
Add chopped English cucumber, red onions, red, yellow, orange bell peppers and toss with whole cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with feta cheese and cilantro or parsley (optional). Squeeze half a lemon wedge over the vegetables. Toss with salt and pepper. 

Mix 1 tsp grated garlic and tahini with half a cup yogurt and salt. Whisk until  combined.

Brush pita bread slightly with olive oil. Cut into smallish pieces. Use your hands, rustic is key. Bake in a 400° F oven for 6-7 minutes. Take out when slightly crisp.

On a serving platter, spread an ample amount of hummus. 
Slice chicken. Place on platter along with vegetables, yogurt and pita pieces.

Alternatively, naan would also be a brilliant option.

"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. " Psalm 92:12-14

1 comment:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!

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