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Turkey Shawarma

October 12, 2009

So, first it was chicken shawarma, and now it’s turkey shawarma.  But whatever the shawarma you pick, it’s all tasty.  This dish is

turkey shawarma

turkey shawarma

surprisingly quick to make- if you ignore the recommended 4-8 hour sitting time for the turkey, which I did when we decided to grill out last Friday.  I don’t think we lost anything in terms of flavor, and had dinner on the table in about 30 minutes- less if you made the tomato relish and tahini sauce ahead of time.  The recipe, which comes from Bon Appetit, makes 8 servings, so I scaled it down to 4, which makes 4-6 pita wraps, depending on the size of pita used.  It’s great served with grilled zucchini on the side.


For the turkey:

1 1/4 lb turkey cutlets (Publix carried these- it’s thin slices of turkey breast)

1 onion, cut into 1/4″ rounds

1/2 T ground turmeric

1 t coarse kosher salt

1 t ground coriander

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground black pepper

1/2 t ground white pepper

1/2 t hot paprika or cayenne pepper

4 T (about) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6-8 whole wheat pita breads

For the tomato relish:

1/2 lb ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (with seeds and juices

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

3 T fresh lemon juice

1 serrano chile, seeded, finely chopped

For the tahini sauce:

1/2 c tahini (sesame seed paste)*

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup (or more) hot water


Combine all dry spices in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Sprinkle spices over onion and both sides of the turkey cutlets.  Drizzle with 1-2 T olive oil and let sit for a few minutes, or covered and in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours.

Meanwhile, combine all the tomato relish ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the tahini ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to a smooth sauce and season to taste with salt.  I kept mine about the consistency of ketchup, but you can add more water to thin if needed.

When turkey cutlets are ready, heat a grill and grease grill racks.  Place cutlets and onion on the grill and let cook 1-2 minutes per side, until cutlets are just done and the onions are softened.  Cooking time will depend upon thickness.  Toast pitas on the grill for 1-2 minutes to soften them.  Remove onions and cutlets from the grill to a plate and cut into 1/2″ strips.  Layer turkey, onions, tomato relish and tahini sauce on pitas, fold and eat!  Garnish with dill pickes, if desired.

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