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Blog Flog: Grilled Turkey Shawarma

I am guilty of mostly buying turkey on those two occasions a year that call for them, but was inspired to experiment with more individual cuts last year, and was presently surprised at the result. It turns out, a turkey breast or thigh is ideal for making shawarma—loaded sandwiches of marinated meat traditionally cooked on a rotisserie and sliced onto soft flatbreads, then loaded with chopped cucumber, tomato, purple onion and pickles, and drizzled with garlicky yogurt, tahini, or both.



I adore shawarma, but it’s typically something I pick up while I’m out and about, which I not as often am these days. Which makes this an even better at-home meal- a taste of being out, complete with chewy flatbread to wrap the meat in- and it’s the sort of interactive meal that encourages socializing, even if it’s with the same few people you’ve been socializing with for the past 7 months.

Further, it’s the kind of meal that threatens to drip down your arm, that’s best eaten outdoors (if it’s still warm enough to do so), but isn’t limited to summer. While the grill will impart plenty of smoky, charred bits, you can just as easily do it in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, which you’ll need for the flatbread anyway, if you’re not using the grill.

Grilled Turkey Shawarma

AuthorJulie

Turkey Shawarmas

Turkey:
1 skinless, boneless turkey breast (or 2 thighs)
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
juice of half a lemon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Flatbread:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive or other vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
Garlic Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini (optional)
juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
1/4 tsp salt
For serving:
chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, purple onion, pickles and parsley

1

Put the turkey breast or thighs into a shallow dish or large, heavy-duty zip-lock bag, add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and combine with your hands (or a spatula), or seal the bag and knead it to combine the marinade ingredients and coat the turkey well. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. (Or freeze for longer storage.)

2

Cook on a preheated grill, turning as needed and brushing with the excess marinade (stop brushing it at least 5 minutes before it finished cooking), with the lid closed to trap the heat, for 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170F. Set aside to rest for at least 10 minutes.

3

To make the flatbread dough, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, stir in the oil and then the water, stirring until the dough comes together. Turn out onto the countertop and knead for a few minutes, until smooth. Set aside (cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, if you like) to rest for about 20 minutes. When you’re ready to cook them, cut the dough into 6-8 pieces, roll out as thin as you can on a clean countertop (don’t flour it, or the dough will slide around) and cook on a preheated grill or in a hot cast iron skillet, with a drizzle of oil, turning as the dough puffs and each side gets grill-marked.

4

To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add a bit of water if it’s too thick. (Can be made up to a few days in advance—it will be better after a day in the fridge.)

5

Thinly slice the turkey and serve in warm flatbreads, topped with chopped cucumber, tomato, purple onion, pickles and parsley, and drizzled generously with the yogurt-tahini sauce. Serves 6.

Ingredients

Turkey:
 1 skinless, boneless turkey breast (or 2 thighs)
 1/3 cup canola or olive oil
 juice of half a lemon
 3 garlic cloves, crushed
 2 Tbsp chili powder
 2 tsp cumin
 1 tsp turmeric
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Flatbread:
 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
 2 Tbsp olive or other vegetable oil
 1/2 cup water
Garlic Tahini Sauce:
 1/2 cup plain yogurt
 1/4 cup tahini (optional)
 juice of half a lemon
 2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
 1/4 tsp salt
For serving:
 chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, purple onion, pickles and parsley

Directions

1

Put the turkey breast or thighs into a shallow dish or large, heavy-duty zip-lock bag, add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and combine with your hands (or a spatula), or seal the bag and knead it to combine the marinade ingredients and coat the turkey well. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. (Or freeze for longer storage.)

2

Cook on a preheated grill, turning as needed and brushing with the excess marinade (stop brushing it at least 5 minutes before it finished cooking), with the lid closed to trap the heat, for 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170F. Set aside to rest for at least 10 minutes.

3

To make the flatbread dough, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, stir in the oil and then the water, stirring until the dough comes together. Turn out onto the countertop and knead for a few minutes, until smooth. Set aside (cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, if you like) to rest for about 20 minutes. When you’re ready to cook them, cut the dough into 6-8 pieces, roll out as thin as you can on a clean countertop (don’t flour it, or the dough will slide around) and cook on a preheated grill or in a hot cast iron skillet, with a drizzle of oil, turning as the dough puffs and each side gets grill-marked.

4

To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add a bit of water if it’s too thick. (Can be made up to a few days in advance—it will be better after a day in the fridge.)

5

Thinly slice the turkey and serve in warm flatbreads, topped with chopped cucumber, tomato, purple onion, pickles and parsley, and drizzled generously with the yogurt-tahini sauce. Serves 6.

Grilled Turkey Shawarma
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About Julie

2 comments on “Blog Flog: Grilled Turkey Shawarma

  1. Albertina
    October 19, 2020 at 12:51 am

    I made this today and I loved everything about it. Great taste and it is actually the most delicious shawarma that I have ever eaten. Thanks, Julie for sharing the recipe.

  2. Alicen
    October 19, 2020 at 5:59 am

    What kind of pickles are traditional? Dill? Sweet?

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