I am more than a little skeptical when I see recipes that seem like special equipment is required, in this case that insane rotating hot meat-sicle machine you see in kebab shops. I always assume it will be a poor imitation. But Sam Sifton of NYT Cooking has rarely steered me wrong so I decided to give this a try. He was not wrong. This immediately entered the lexicon of family dinners that are good enough for dinner parties. That means it was easy and impressive at the same time.
I double this recipe for a family of 5 because there is no reason not to make enough for lunch leftovers the next day. It’s the same amount of effort. You can half it if you only want to get one meal out of it.
Chicken Shawarma from Sam Sifton at NYT Cooking
4 lemons, juiced
1 cup of olive oil
12 cloves garlic, minced (I use a microplane)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Red pepper flakes, to taste
4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chicken turning it over and opening up the thighs until all the surfaces are coated. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. I usually make sure it marinates for at least 6 hours.
Heat the oven to 425. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on a baking sheet. Again, open up the thighs so the most surface area is touching the sheet.
Roast the chicken until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. If serving right away, let rest for 2 minutes then slice, place on a platter and top with chopped parsley. If you need to hold the thighs for a little while before serving, cover the pan with aluminum foil and leave in a 200 degree oven for up to an hour. When ready to serve, remove the foil, and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to re-crisp. Serve with rice.