SOMEWHAT LESS TROUBLESOME CHICKEN SHAWARMA
(serves two for dinner, and makes two stuffed-pita sandwiches from the leftovers)
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP garlic paste (or three minced garlic cloves)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp half-sharp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander [powder]
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
Half or a third of a red onion, sliced into half-rings
1/2 tsp or more sumac (two very generous pinches)
2 TBSP peanut oil
1/4 CUP chopped flat parsley
Tahini sauce (1/2 CUP tahini, 1-2 TSP garlic paste, 2+ TBSP lemon juice, 1/4 TSP salt, 1/2 CUP water added slowly)
Cut the thighs into four or five pieces each. Put into a sealable bag or tub along with all the other ingredients down to the cayenne. Coat all chicken pieces, then marinate for an hour or overnight. Then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, line a baking sheet with foil, spread out the chicken on the sheet, and roast for 15 MINS, flipping the chicken pieces halfway through. (You can grill the chicken instead of roasting it if you'd rather, but you probably wanted fewer pieces to start with. So less surface area for marinade, but more tasty grill fond. Skewers, maybe?) Now comes the neat trick. Take the chicken out of the oven (or off the grill), and slice it thinly -- you know, like chicken shawarma. While doing that, heat 1 TBSP of the peanut oil in a skillet over medium. Toss in half the chicken, half the red onion, and fry, sprinkling with one pinch of the sumac. When the onion is fried nicely (3-4 MINS?) dump the twice-cooked chicken into a bowl and repeat with the other half of the chicken, peanut oil, onion, and sumac. It's this post-roasting frying that deepens the flavor into the neighborhood of proper spit-roasted shawarma.
Top with tahini sauce and garnish with parsley. Serve with couscous and some kind of nice vegetable.
Seriously, people, do we have to have the "dark meat is where they keep the flavor" talk again? Just trust me and don't go with the breasts on this one. Shawarma should never be dry. I haven't played around with the warmer spice ratios -- a lot of shawarma recipes I see on line recommend nutmeg, but the allspice-cinnamon blend here was pretty good. You might also want to kick up the coriander, if that's your bag. Play around with it, I'm saying.