street food plated elegantly
I always enjoy eating chicken shawarma whenever we’re in Tel Aviv (and my husband does even more so). Growing up, every Thursday night my family picked it up for dinner from a great Lebanese restaurant in Montreal, where the chicken is piled in layers on a skewer and rotated on a vertical spit. It’s tough to replicate at home without a full-sized rotisserie, but Sam Sifton’s oven-roasted chicken shawarma will get you close.
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon 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
- A pinch ground cinnamon
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
2. Once ready to cook the chicken, set oven to 425 ℉ . Use the remaining tbsp of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Place the chicken and the onion on the rimmed sheet pan and then coat the pan evenly with the marinade. I prepare my chopped eggplant to go into the oven around the same time as well (as pictured below).
3. 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 into bits. For crispier chicken, Sam Sifton recommends the following: place 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. I think this is a key step–don’t skip it.