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Yogurt Pita and Baked Chicken Shawarma

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours

Ingredients

Scale

For the Pita:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt

For the Chicken:

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

To Assemble:

  • thinly sliced cucumber
  • sliced tomatoes
  • fresh parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • za’atar seasoning
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • whole-milk Greek yogurt mixed with chopped cucumber, chopped parsley, salt and pepper

Instructions

You may want to skip below and start by marinating the chicken.

To Make the Pita:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the water yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let the mixture sit until it’s foamy on top, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment combine the flour, salt, and remaining tablespoon of sugar. Add the yeast mixture, oil and yogurt and mix to combine. Stir the mixture with a spatula to lightly bring it together then knead with the dough hood on medium speed into a slightly sticky and soft ball. Add more flour if the dough seems way too sticky.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. Add a splash of olive oil and return the dough to the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size – about 1 1/2 hours.

While the dough rests, I cook off my marinated chicken.

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Dang that’s hot. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. While the oven preheats, turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into 12 equal balls. Roll the balls out into circles that are 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the pita on the prepared baking sheets an inch apart. Bake until they’re puffy and lightly browned on top. Check their doneness after 5 minutes. They cook fast. Somewhere between 5 and 7 minutes should do the trick.
  4. Remove from the oven and clean kitchen towel, cover and let cool. To enjoy, use a knife to split the pita at the seem, creating pocket for all that goodness!

To Make the Chicken:

  1. First we’ll make a marinade for the chicken. Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl or ziplock bag. Whisk to combine if you’re using a bowl. Massage to combine if you’re using a bag. Add the chicken and toss well or massage to coat. Cover or seal and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. After the chicken has marinated for a bit, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil and use 2 tablespoon of olive oil to grease the pan – you’ll have 1 tablespoon of olive oil left.
  3. Add the quartered onions to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to coat the onions in marinate flavor. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading in a single layer.
  4. Place the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits. To make the chicken even more crisp, set a large pan over high heat, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken and some of the onion pieces, and sauté until everything crisps up.

After the chicken cooks I increase the heat of the oven and bake off the pita.

To Assemble:

  1. Sprinkle the cucumbers and tomatoes with za’atar, salt and pepper.
  2. Slice open pita pockets at the seam, leaving half of the bread pocket attached.
  3. Add pieces of chicken, the roasted onion (it’s extra nice if you remove the root of the onion), seasoned cucumber and tomatoes, fresh parsley and a dollop of the yogurt mixture. Enjoy right away with a few good napkins. It’s perfection!