With—holy cow!—565 posts here already, I sometimes wonder exactly how many more recipes I have room for in my life. I would have thought my chicken-on-a-pita niche was already amply filled by the painstakingly perfected chicken gyros, but then in some food blog roundup I spotted this photo from The Gourmet RD and realized my world would not be complete without a chicken-and-hummus-on-a-pita version. The original recipe is from Sam Sifton at the New York Times, and it is both easy and fabulous: A lengthy marinade in lemon and spices followed by a stint in a hot oven (be forewarned, it will spatter and smoke) yields chicken that’s tender yet crispy-edged and ultra-flavorful. I nestled it atop some creamy hummus on a chewy flatbread, dotted it with cucumber and tomato slices, drizzled on a quick garlic-lemon-yogurt sauce, and was very happy. You might add hot sauce, feta, olives, baba ganoush or lettuce, or serve it all over rice or greens instead. But do try it, because it’s pretty magical.
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup plus 1 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
1 pinch ground cinnamon
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1½ to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Toppings as desired (I like sliced cucumber, chopped tomato, hummus, and garlicky yogurt sauce)
- For the chicken marinade, combine the lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover, and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan (I recommend lining it with foil first). Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.
- Put the chicken in the oven, and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 5 minutes, then slice into bits. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve on pita with the toppings of your choice.
Time: 1 hour, plus 1 to 24 hours of marinating
Leftover potential: Good (store chicken/onion mixture separate from pita, sauce and other toppings; reheat and assemble when ready to eat)