Chicken Shawarma Delight

There’s much debate about the origin of this absolutely amazing and delicious dish – Chicken Shawarma.  Is it Mediterranean?  Or is it Middle Eastern?  Personally, I could NOT careless!!!  All I think about it is this:  It is freakin DELICIOUS and it’s one of my favorite things to eat!  Anything stuffed into some pita bread and covered with a garlicky yogurt sauce is perfection in my book.

I will say, traditionally you should grill the meat.  My problem is this:  we live in a condo and I can’t have a grill/smoker on our deck… SOOOOO… I did a little pan-sear on the stove and then finished cooking my chicken in the oven.  It turned out beautifully and was seriously super easy to make!  Note:  the longer you marinate the chicken, the better!  I didn’t marinate over night, but I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong if you do.  Once your chicken is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes, then slice it, and throw it in some pita bread with whatever toppings you love.  Below you’ll see all of my toppings.  Now – let’s get to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs organic boneless/skinless chicken breasts (you can leave it whole or cut it into strips)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (or more if you like it spicy) cayenne

For the yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup plain organic Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced*
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toppings:

  • romaine or green leafy lettuce chopped finely
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped seedless cucumber
  • sliced red onion
  • whole grain pita bread

*I don’t like raw garlic in my food, so I sauteed about a tablespoon of garlic in a little bit of olive oil until it had cooked for a few minutes.  Let it cool, then add it to the yogurt sauce.  Be careful not to let your garlic burn.  Burnt garlic is no bueno.  If you like raw garlic – disregard this info!  🙂

**I like to dress my greens and veggies with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper before stuffing it in the pita too…

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Directions:

  1. Put the chicken and rest of the ingredients in a Ziplock bag and let it marinate for as long as possible.  I had time for about 4 hours.
  2. Put all of the “Yogurt Sauce” ingredients in a bowl, mix it together really well, and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.
  3. Once you’re ready to start cooking the chicken preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat up a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.  Add a tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  When it gets shimmery add the chicken.  I left my chicken whole (then cut it into strips later).  Cook the first side.  When you flip the chicken, throw it in the oven for about 6-8 minutes (or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees).  If you cut your chicken into strips before cooking, it will not take very long to cook.  I would continue cooking on the stove top and not worry about the oven.
  4. While the chicken finishes cooking toast the pita bread for a couple of minutes on a sheet pan.
  5. Now – start stuffing that pita full of chicken, veggies, and yogurt sauce!!  Get ready for your mouth to EXPLODE with excitement!!!  If you want this to be Paleo, ditch the pita bread…

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