Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken Shawarma in the Slow Cooker

I must warn you that this is not really "traditional" chicken shawarma. If you look up shawarma on the trusty Wikipedia, you learn that it is an Arabic preparation of meat that requires long grilling times on a spit. Contrary to what you might think, I do not not have a spit in my apartment, so there was no way I was going to be able to pull that off. Instead I turned to my beloved slow cooker to cook the chicken in a variety of spices for the length of a day. I think the resultant dinner was quite delicious, but I'm not really sure how it compares to the Arabic preparation...

My only other experience with chicken shawarma was a wrap at one of the campus dining establishments at Duke; it was seriously garlicky and peppery chicken coated with a creamy sauce. This dish is nothing like that. Although I must admit, I like them both. This recipe will allow to stand close to someone and even kiss them after the meal (the one from the dining hall not so much).

So for authenticity I'm turning to my sister. I'm hoping she will read this (hi Lisa!) and make the dish. She lived for two years in northern Africa so she's had some "real" shawarma. Let's hope she makes this and likes it (and that it has some resemblance of what she had over there).

For this dish, I would definitely encourage making the sauce to go with it and topping with the cucumber and tomato. It cools the spices and gives a little crunch. And if you have leftovers, I would suggest keeping the sauce separate from the chicken and bringing them in little tupperwares to assemble during your lunch break. That's what I did and it tasted just as good the second (and third) day.

And for certain, if you have the time, make yourself some homemade pita to serve this with; it's worth it :)

Chicken Shawarma (adapted from The Homestyle)
For chicken:
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp seasoning salt
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

For sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/8 cup tahini
2 tbsp diced onion
juice from 1/2 lemon

Diced tomatoes and cucumbers, for assembly
Pita bread (homemade or store bought)

Place the chicken thighs in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add in the broth, olive oil and lemon juice. Top with all of the seasonings and garlic. Stir to mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients and mixing completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred it in the crockpot. It should soak up the sauce.

To assemble, spread about 1-2 tbsp sauce on the inside of each pita. Top with the shredded chicken and diced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Serves 4-6.

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