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This was originally going to be Shawarma Chameleon but now it is not. I once saw Radiohead open for Live at Pine Knob in Michigan. Radiohead went on to be superstars. Live did not. “There’s a shawarma joint about 2 blocks from here.” Shawarma requires different preparation than a gyro because the meat is marinated for as long as a day. Thom Yorke is a vegan so he would not actually eat this shawarma but would likely eat a seitan gyro without tzatziki. I buy bone-in skin-on chicken thighs – they are cheaper – and make a stock from the bones and skin. Put skin, bones, a few pieces of celery, carrot, onion, black peppercorns, thyme in a pot – cover with water – bring to boil – reduce heat – simmer for several hours. I honestly had not listened to OK Computer in like 5 years. It’s really a bit too much for me. I mean – I GET IT – but damn, son, do ya HAVE to be so art-fuck?!? See I’m a culinary creep – this is the first time I’ve had shawarma – not even sure I did it right. Even if I didn’t – it tasted great – clean & filling. Roasting the red onions allows them to soak up chicken fat. Chicken fat is good fat. Shawarma sauce thinned out is also a solid salad dressing. You could also add tomato and cucumber as toppings. I’m tired of this affected writing style so I’m going to go eat leftover shawarma.
Chicken shawarma, sauce, feta, roasted red onion, baby spinach, flatbread
Makes 5 – 6 sandwiches
Shawarma chicken, sliced thin (see recipe below)
Shawarma sauce (see recipe below)
Roasted red onion
Flatbread (I prefer whole grain)
Toast the flatbread. I usually do this with tongs over a gas flame because I have lost the will to live. Using a hot skillet is far safer. You could also place on a sheet pan in the oven after cooking the chicken.
Place toasted flatbread on a plate. Spread 1 tablespoon shawarma sauce on flatbread – add a bit of roasted onion – then sliced chicken – drizzle a bit more sauce – top with a little more onion, baby spinach, and feta. Take a small piece of foil and wrap to make for easier one-handed eating.
7-ounces Greek Yogurt (sour cream can also be used)
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon Tahini
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (1 teaspoon dry can also be used)
7 mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend for a minute.
(based on a NY Times recipe)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (or red pepper flakes)
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large red onion, peeled and quartered
Prepare a marinade for the chicken. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet in aluminum foil. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.
Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice chicken and red onion into thin pieces.
To make the chicken even crisper, set a large pan over high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken, and sauté until everything curls tight in the heat.