- Prep Time 10 minutes plus 3 hours marinating
- Cook Time 40-45 minutes
- Estimated Cost $15.50
- 10 Comments
The kids just had their last day of camp before school starts in a few weeks, and we are entering that weird phase of summer where some parts of the world feel like they’ve stopped, but others are spinning, and you don’t really ever know what time it is, and you know there’s a lot that needs to be done before the leaves start changing color, and autumn seems simultaneously lightyears away and rapidly approaching.
I remember the feeling vividly from when I was a kid, back when summer meant popsicles, sleepaway camp, and reading Judy Blume by the town pool (and later on, sprinkles-covered cones at TCBY, month-long babysitting gigs, and first kisses at beach bonfire parties). It’s different on this side of things, as the one responsible for making sure the forms, appointments, reading lists, registrations, and goals set two months earlier when we had a whole summer before us are completed in a timely fashion, whilst also making sure we soak up as much outdoors time, and make as many sunscreen-scented memories as we possibly can before we’re all suddenly cast back into real life.
This clever shawarma-cooking technique, which I first learned about from the delightful Nadiya of GBBO fame feels to me like it nicely straddles both real life and the timeless magic of summer. Shawarma, a rotisserie meat dish which originated in the Ottoman Empire and is popular across the Middle East, is perfect warm-weather food—deliciously grilled, spice-laden and loaded with flavor, and, when served wrapped in a pita, extremely portable, making it ideal for outdoor eating. Traditionally, shawarma is cooked on a rotating spit, resulting in meat which is tender and juicy on the inside and nicely crisped on the outside, but you can get a pretty darn similar result by packing marinated chicken breasts or thighs into an 8-cup loaf pan.
You roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, then finish off with a quick trip under the broiler for extra texture and browning. It’ll shrink up a fair amount.
The meat rests in the pan for 10 minutes after roasting (this is crucial to retain those juices), then turn it out onto a cutting board and slice away.
I served it on homemade flatbread (just pizza dough I rolled into rounds and cooked in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat until they puffed), with some garlicky tahina, cilantro, red onion and pickled cabbage.
I’m obsessed with this pickled cabbage btw. I make a huge batch of almost every week and eat it with every meal. It’s so simple and so good, and having a jar of it in the fridge spares me having to make a vegetable side, which I love.
Here’s to making the final stretch of summer as delicious as possible.
- juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons $0.50
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil pantry
- 10-12 garlic cloves, minced pantry
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt pantry
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes pantry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom pantry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric pantry
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon pantry
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander pantry
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (or a combination) $15
- pita, pickles, tahini and/or labne or garlic-yogurt sauce for serving
Recipe Serves 4
- In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and spices with the chicken.
- Mix well to coat, then transfer to a zip-top bag or airtight container and marinate for at least 3 hours, up to 24.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Tightly pack the marinated chicken and its juice into an 8-cup loaf pan, preferably one made of metal. If the chicken goes all the way to the top of your loaf pan, place the pan inside a larger pan to catch any excess juices during cooking.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through but juicey (it should register 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer).
- Keeping the pan on the middle rack, turn on the broiler and broil the chicken for 3-5 minutes, until nicely browned (keep an eye on it).
- Once the chicken has finished cooking, let rest for 10 minutes.
- Carefully pour the juices into a bowl.
- Turn the loaf pan over onto a wooden cutting board, preferably one with a moat to catch juices.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken thinly across the grain. Pour as much of reserved juices onto the sliced shawarma as you would like.
- Serve the sliced chicken with soft pita (or other flatbread) or rice, with pickles and tahini sauce, labne or garlic-yogurt sauce.