A little known treasure trove for awesome recipes is Men's Health magazine. Sure, if your household subscribes, you'll be subjected to issues with half-naked Adam Levine (ugh) on the cover. But, if you can get past that, you're in store for some GOOD recipes. The magazine's recipe developers really excel at making healthier versions of food that just downright tastes great.
Because of an obsession with Bucharest Grill's chicken shawarmas, my husband and I immediately noticed the Grilled Chicken Shawarma recipe in the May 2012 issue. We ripped it out and then promptly forgot about it. But, better late than never. We made this last week, with a few modifications, and it rocked my socks off. I declared that I liked it "better than Bucharest!" which made Jeff roll his eyes. But in a way, I really did like it better. It was MUCH less greasy (well, it wasn't greasy at all). And I love tangy Greek yogurt in just about anything, so the yogurt sauce in place of the garlic spread at Bucharest (which can ward off vampires for days) really did it for me.
Don't get me wrong, when I'm downtown for a Tigers game, you'll still find me at Bucharest. But the rest of the year, you'll find me at home, making these.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
adapted from Men's Health
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 cup Greek yogurt, divided
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Middle Eastern seasoning mix* (I had this on hand, but you can make your own!)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and shredded on a box grater
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 - 4 pitas or wraps, depending on how big they are and how "stuffed" you like your shawarmas
Nonstick cooking spray
Toppings: hummus, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced pickles
*To make your own Middle Eastern seasoning, combine 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. You will have some of this mix left over for next time if you use this to make the shawarma.
1. In a large ziploc bag, combine 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup yogurt, lemon juice, seasoning mix, lemon zest, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add chicken and massage bag to combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 (while you're at work!).
2. Preheat an outdoor grill (or grill pan or George Forman grill) to high heat.
3. Make the yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together remaining yogurt and garlic, cucumber, vinegar and salt to taste.
4. Grill the chicken until internal temperature reaches 165°, turning once halfway through cooking (chicken will get slightly charred - you want this to happen!). Transfer to plate; let rest 5 minutes. While chicken is resting, spray both sides of pita with nonstick cooking spray and lightly toast both sides on the grill, about 30 seconds per side.
5. Assemble: however you want! I spread one side of my pita with hummus and the other side with the yogurt sauce. Then, I piled in the chicken and toppings, and wrapped the whole thing up in foil to make it easier to eat without it coming apart.