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  • Rock Rousseau

Savory Chicken Shawarma

Updated: May 25, 2020


Shawarma is a Middle Eastern meat preparation based on the döner kebab of Ottoman Turkey. Originally made of lamb or mutton, today's shawarma may also be chicken, turkey, beef, or veal, cut in thin slices and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. This recipe shows how to cook this chicken either oven-roasted or on a grill- both are perfect for an evening with family and friends.


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 6 TBSN extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 6 teaspoons garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Medium mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, whisk, aluminum foil, measuring cups, sharp carving knife, Grill or baking sheet, tongs, skillet, spatula, plastic wrap. Prep: 10 min- 12 hours prep Cook: 20-25 minutes Ready: 35 minutes Serves: 4-6

Before you handle any food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Clean your kitchen work area and pull back your hair or wear a cap. You want to avoid contaminating your meal with harmful bacteria that could cause food illness.

To make Savory Chicken Shawarma: 1. Brine chicken with lemon slices before marinating. Click here for directions for brining chicken.

2. Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each. Place them in a large Ziplock bag.

3. Prepare the marinade: Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine.

4. Add the chicken to the Ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and rub and toss well to coat all chicken pieces. Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

5. When ready to cook, remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.

6. There are two methods for cooking the chicken:

Oven Cooking Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil. Place the chicken pieces on the sheet, evenly spaced. Roast the chicken at 450°F for about 15-18 minutes, turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through cooking.

Grill Cooking Method: Spray the grill with nonstick cooking oil and preheat to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto wooden skewers. Grill the chicken on the skewers for about 20 minutes, giving a quarter turn every 5 minutes, until cooked through (slice into the thickest piece of meat to check for doneness).

7. Remove from oven or grill. Cover chicken with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep the heat in while the chicken rests for 5-10 minutes.

8. If grilled on skewers, remove them from the skewers. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat into 1/2" thin slices.

9. To crisp the chicken, set a large pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken, and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until it browns and develops crispness.

10. Remove from pan. Scatter the parsley over the top of all the chicken slices. Serve with lemon slices, tomatoes, pita, white sauce, hot sauce, olives, feta, and/or rice.


  • Calories 400

  • Total Fat 26 g

  • Saturated Fat 5 g

  • Cholesterol 124 mg

  • Sodium 139 mg

  • Potassium 395 mg

  • Total Carbohydrates 1 g

  • Dietary Fiber 0.5 g

  • Sugars 0.1 g

  • Protein 40 g

Chicken carries plentiful amounts of protein and a variety of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Chicken is a great source of vitamin B, which consumed regularly can prevent stress, anxiety, memory-loss syndrome, and can balance cortisol hormones in your body.Moreover, it can improve concentration in children and adults alike. Many studies have revealed that vitamin B also maintains psychological health.Chicken has a high content of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K which contribute to producing red blood cells. When your body obtains the required amount of iron and vitamins, it can produce and balance red blood cells that will eventually deal with anemia.They also help to protect your eyes from weak vision as it is a powerhouse of, retinol, lycopene, alpha, and beta-carotene. The nutrients are essential to maintaining the overall health of your eyes. They regularly promote the growth of damaged cells and tissues effectively because they have a high content of riboflavin which is essential for normal healing of skin tissue.Your immune system requires adequate levels of protein; iron, magnesium, and potassium to function properly that are abundant in Chicken. These nutrients strengthen cells in your immune system, as well as your teeth and gums due to the high content of phosphorus. When you consume phosphorus regularly, it can alleviate factors that weaken your teeth and prevent gums bleeding as well.Chicken is a powerhouse of magnesium and phosphorus which are known to maintain cardiovascular health. They also contain plenty of nutrients that help relieve common cold and other illnesses associated with it such as a sore throat and congested nose.

White wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, while dark meat like duck and other game go well with medium bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir or Zinfandel.

More variations coming soon!





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