Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr
A Food and Wine staff favorite. Recipe courtesy of Chris Hanna. Shwarma is basically thinly sliced roasted meat and condiments, wrapped in a pita. It is a very popular street food throughout the Middle East. Here, the lamb should really marinate overnight in the spicy, garlicky marinade before grilling. Marinating for up to three days is even better! You can ask your butcher to butterfly the leg of lamb. I will also post a separate recipe for homemade pita bread (although it is perfectly fine to use store-bought pita). *Cook time does not include marinating*
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lemons, juice of
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper (or 1/2 t. crushed red pepper)
- 1 1⁄2 t.kosher salt, plus more for seasoning later
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning later
- 6 -7 lbs butterflied leg of lamb
- 2 orange bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 3 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- pita bread, for serving (either store-bought or homemade)
- 1⁄4 cup tahini paste, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon aleppo pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
- salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
- Mix 1/2 cup of oil with the garlic, lemon juice, cumin, cardamom, Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper), 1 t. of black pepper and 1 1/2 T. of salt.
- Set the lamb on a rimmed baking sheet and coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. The longer it marinates, the more flavorful and tender the meat.
- On the day of grilling, you can go ahead and make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:.
- Blend the tahini paste, lemon juice and olive oil, in a food processor, until smooth. Add the yogurt and blend the mixture completely. Scrape the tahini sauce into a bowl; stir in the cumin and pepper. Season with salt, to taste. Garnish with parsley.
- Preheat a grill - medium-high heat.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 T. of oil over medium-low , and add the bell peppers. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer this to a serving bowl.
- Heat the remaining 1 T. of oil in the same skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are lightly browned - about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tranfer the onions to a different serving bowl.
- Grill the leg of lamb over medium-high heat, turning often, until an instant read thermometer (inserted into the thickest part of the meat) reads 130 degrees F. for medium-rare. This should take approximately 25 minutes.
- Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This is very important! Then, thinly slice the lamb across the grain and serve with the peppers, onions, yogurt-tahini sauce and pita bread.
We just loved this! I marinated the lamb for 48 hours, and it turned out wonderfully flavorful and tender. The garlic and cumin perfectly compliment the natural flovor of the meat, and the smokey, charred bits from the grill made it even better. I used chili flakes instead of the aleppo pepper, since I didn't have it on hand. The yogurt sauce is a great accompaniment to the meat and veggies. I used greek yogurt, so it was very thick- more a spread than a sauce, but regular yogurt would be very good as well. This is just like a dish that I get at my favorite middle eastern restaraunt, I'm really happy that I can now make it myself! Thanks for sharing