One weekend night we had some extra time on our hands, when Kris looked at me and said "lets cook ourselves something new and fun for dinner"
I love this man. He totally gets me.
We pulled out our Jamie Oliver Comfort Food cookbook, our go to favourite, and poured over the pages to find something new and exciting to cook. We were tempted by Osso Buco, and the Insanity Burger, but in the end we settled on Chicken Shawarma.
We may have bit off a little more than we could chew with this one. While the ingredients are fairly simple (we actually had most of them) the preparation included the words "over night". I have nothing but respect for Mr. Oliver, and I can't wait to cook this recipe properly on a rotisserie, but my stomach just wasn't going to wait for that.
So we decided to prepare the recipe in a quick and dirty fashion! Much less time consuming (though you're still looking at an hour and a half-ish), and still tasty.
This of course, takes away from what "shawarma" actually is, which is less the type of food and more, the slow cooking rotisserie process, but we're going to ignore that for now... because it was a total success!
Here's what you'll need:
Quick and Dirty Chicken Shawarma (Makes approx 6-8 shawarmas)
- 5 or 6 cardamom pods
- 1/2 heaping tsp each fennel seeds, cumin, coriander
- 1/2 level tsp eash ground cinnamon, ground allspice, paprika
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt (I didn't have any and substituted with tzatziki!)
- 1/2 heaping tbsp smooth peanut butter (or WOW butter if you're nut free, but don't skip it!)
- Olive oil
- 8 boneless chicken thighs (skin on)
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 onion
- 1 lemon
- 6-8 pitas (make sure they have pockets!)
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 head of lettuce, shredded
- garlic aioli
1) Crush and shell the cardamoms, then toast all of your spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for approx 2 minutes. when done, tip into a food processor along with some sea salt and pepper, your garlic, bay leaves, yogurt, peanut butter and a "good drizzle" (see 1 tbsp ish) of olive oil. Process until you have a smooth paste, loosening with a bit of watter if needed.
2) Place your chicken (try to leave thighs whole if possible) into a medium sized bowl, then pour your spice mixture over top. Massage into the chicken, then cover and place in fridge.
Here's where we have our first deviation: Jamie Oliver says leave it over night, I say "until you're ready to use it"! From here on out assume you'll be seeing my version of things, though I strongly recommend checking out the proper Comfort Food version!
3) While you're letting your chicken sit in the spices, cut up your onions, peppers and lemons. Slice your peppers into somewhat wide strips. Your onions should be diced.
Your lemons should be in sort of wedged chunks. Set them aside separately from the veggies, as they have another purpose.
4) When you're ready to start cooking, grab your chicken out of the fridge and cook on the stove in a pan over medium-high heat. You don't need to worry about cooking all the way through, you just want to sear the chicken closed and cook to about 60% done.
When you've reached that point, place chicken thighs into a clear baking pan, scatter your lemon chunks over top and pop them in the oven, rack in the middle, with the broiler on. What you want is for the chicken skins and outside layer to really brown up, I had mine in for about 15-20 minutes, rotating half way through. The chicken will be 98% cooked when you need to remove from oven.
5) While your chicken broils, add the onions and peppers to the same frying pan (which will have hopefully picked up some of the spices) with a dash of oil and cook over medium-high heat until soft.
6) Pull your chicken out of the broiler and tip out on to a cutting board, removing the lemon pieces.
Since we aren't able to shave the chicken off a rotisserie, you want to cut it into smaller pieces now that the outsides are nicely browned. When your chicken is cut thin, put into frying pan with the veggies and cook until ready to eat!
That's your prep done! We served our shawarma with the "for serving" ingredients listed at the top, as well as some Sriracha Rooster Sauce!
So we've saved you some time on cooking your shwarma which is the "quick", now for the "dirty" bit... it's not necessarily clean to eat, so roll your pitas carefully!
Now you get it!