Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lunch Week 12: Lamb Shawarma-Esque Pita Sandwiches

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Lamb Shawarma-Esque Pita Sandwiches
I think lamb is a very underrated meat. Most people eat beef or pork but only lamb on special occasions. But there's so much more to it than just seared chops at a restaurant. It's pretty lean and naturally full of flavor. It works well on it's own or spiced up. Really, it's pretty versatile. My favorite way to cook it at home is on the grill. The slight crispy charred pieces and the tender juicy meat is a great combination.

First, I removed any large fat pockets from the lamb. Don't need it to keep it juicy. Then I sliced it so that it's relatively even in thickness. A paste was made with tumeric, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I rubbed the paste into the meat then refrigerated it overnight. Then onto the grill on medium or medium high heat, indirect. Cook 10 minutes on each side for medium doneness. Let it rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Then slice against the grain.
While the lamb rests, prep the other ingredients like the yogurt tahini sauce with mint.
And the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, spring mix, and whole wheat pita with pockets.
Then it's time to assemble. First the greens on the bottom, then the lamb, sauce, and sliced vegetables. And there you have it, a nice lamb shawarma pita sandwich.
The lamb came out great. Really tender but so much flavor from the spices. A little heat but a lot of depth. I have to assemble the sandwiches every day since the pita tends to get soft over time. Oh and this is best eaten at room temperature. If it's cold then the lamb will be chewy. If it's hot then the vegetables wilt. Room temperature is ideal.

Lamb Shawarma-Esque Pita Sandwiches
Makes 10 Servings
For Lamb:
5 lbs of boneless leg of lamb
2 tbsp tumeric
4 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp white pepper
4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

For Sauce:
2-6 oz plain Greek yogurt
4 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
20 mint leaves, thinly sliced

For Sandwiches:
8 oz spring mix
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
5 mini cucumbers, sliced
10 whole wheat pitas with pockets

1. Trim lamb of excess fat. Then slice thicker pieces in half to form one large flat piece of lamb. Combine the spices and oil to form a thick paste. Rub into lamb and marinate overnight.
2. Take lamb out and let rest until it comes up to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Heat grill at medium to medium high heat. Sear lamb on each side for 10 minutes. Remove and let rest for 30 minutes. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces against the grain.
3. Mix ingredients for sauce together until homogeneous. Seasoning with salt.
4. Slice pita horizontally to open up the pocket halfway. Stuff with handful of spring mix. Place 4 slices of lamb into pita then top with tahini sauce, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers. Serve while still warm.


  1. not shawarma (pendant) but looks AWESOME!

    i'll take 3.

    1. Actually thought about buying a shawarma vertical baking pan but I'm getting too specific with my cooking tools. Crossed that off the list.

  2. Oh man. Lambbbbbbbbbbbbbbb!


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