My unmatched Citizens – today, I have chosen to revisit the ancient land of Cedars, home of the ‘Paris of the East’ and a proud people: I speak of nothing less than Lebanon and today’s recipe is for their incomparable lamb shawarma! While the country is going through very hard times right now, My hope is that they emerge in peace and prosperity!
I have previously visited the glory that ALONE is shawarma in My posting from 5 years ago for the beef version of the classic recipe. However, lamb is enjoyed just as much as beef in Lebanon (if not more so!) and thus it is an ideal opportunity to revisit a newly-inspired version of My classic recipe of yore!
Excerpting from My previous recipe post:
Citizens, one of your beloved Leader’s favorite superhero movies is “The Avengers” – and if you saw it in the theaters and stayed all the way to the end, you’ll see a bonus scene where the heroic group is seen tiredly eating shawarma at a local joint in New York City.
Shawarma is a Levantine meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day.
Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap.
Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba sauce.
Similar dishes in the region include Turkish döner kebabs and Greek gyros.
Though grilling meat on a skewer has ancient roots in the Eastern Mediterranean with evidence from the Mycenaean Greek and Minoan periods, grilling a vertical spit of stacked meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks was developed in the 19th century in Ottoman Bursa current-day Turkey.
According to some sources, the Middle Eastern shawarma, Mexican tacos al pastor, and Greek gyros are all derived from the Turkish döner kebab, which was invented in Bursa in the 19th century by a cook named Hadji Iskender.
Shawarma is in fact an Arabic rendering of Turkish çevirme or ‘turning’, in reference to the rotisserie-cooked nature of the meat, which ‘turns; around an axis. Similar naming conventions apply to the Turkish döner and the Greek gyro, both of which reference the turning action of the associated cooking mechanism.
To be very specific – shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a vertical spit. An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top for decoration. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours.
Gas or electric heat is used; formerly, there was a cage holding burning charcoal or wood. Some restaurants offer two or more meat selections; many have just one.
The meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita or lavash together with vegetables and dressing. A properly made shawarma is truly a symphony of flavors, textures and colors!
As noted on tastymediteranean.com:
This meat recipe, first mentioned in a writing in the fourteenth century, has an uncertain origin and could go back further in the past, as it is believed that the nomadic peoples of central Asia cooked meat on brooches or swords as early as that time. During the thirteenth century, it even acquired the status of luxury delicacies, with the sultans of the Indian royal court.
However, its democratization as a sandwich had to wait until the nineteenth century, when chawarma was offered in bread in the streets of the cities of the ottoman empire. It was at this same time that the idea of cooking the meat on a vertical spit was adopted, which made it possible to make the fat flow throughout the preparation, for a more marked flavor.
The Traditional Shape Of The Alexander Kebab
Around 1830, the famous Iskander Effendi restaurant in the Turkish city of Bursa invented the vertical transport method, which allowed the installation of the skewer of the Shawarma vertically instead of horizontally, it is not known exactly how Hajji Iskandar was able to enable the transporter to erect vertically, but it was his invention that opened the door to the spread of shawarma in this wide form in our world.
Today the Bursa method in the preparation of shawarma is called: Iskander Kebab.
Of course, Shawarma spread from bursa to Syria, and as the stock exchange arrived from Erzurum. in 1906, teacher Siddiq al-Khabaz opened his shawarma restaurant in Marja square in Damascus after leaving his job at Iskandar effendi restaurant in bursa, carrying with him the method and prescription of hajj Mohammed bin Iskandar effendi, and then spread in Damascus to add to its sauce cardamom beans that characterized the taste of the famous Syrian shawarma.
The Traditional Shape Of Doner Kebab
Later, in 1945, the son of a refugee from Samarkand in Sajjad, beyti Güler, opened a restaurant in Istanbul that began serving his first meals in the city, quoting a recipe he had learned in the Roman province of Dobruca, called Doner Kebab, in distinction from the rest of the kebabs his restaurant offered to his clients.
it was not common to serve shawarma wrapped in slices of bread, but from the beginning of its appearance, in a dish with a meal of steamed rice bellauv (bellao), the habit continued until the tashrameh arrived in Damascus and Istanbul, where it was served by a friend’s restaurant in Damascus during the 1940s, wrapped in Arabic saj bread and cut, next to a meal of Shami salad, and first appeared the meal of Arab shawarma.
It was presented in Istanbul in 1960 by master P.T. Geller wrapped in a layer of Turkish tanur bread to get the name Dorm Dürüm, a wrapped one, and this method spread throughout Istanbul during the 1960s.
In writing up this particular recipe, I challenged Myself to create a totally different flavor profile and gustatory experience from My beef shawarma of several years ago – I believe I have exceeded My own sky-high expectations with this recipe, Citizens!
The marinade spices and herbs are quite different from My beef shawarma, and – of course – it MUST include ground rosemary to accentuate the flavor of top-quality lamb! This brand of ground rosemary is my go-to, BTW – and it goes without saying (but I will anyway) that you MUST USE TOP-QUALITY LAMB IN THIS RECIPE! It is the star, after all!
Since we are making a Muslim specialty, it is best-made with a Halal-certified leg of lamb – this one is organic and fits the bill of fare perfectly! My marinade – as is to be expected of a TFD recipe – is complex and redolent with an entire spice cabinet worth of flavorings! Trust Me – it’s going to be worth it! 😀
Most of the spices and herbs are probably already in your hands, and the few that aren’t are easily purchased online. Smoked Icelandic salt adds a note of outdoor grilling to the oven-cooked meat, while also having a good flake size that you feel with your tongue! I add a highly-eccentric touch of rosewater to My marinade – this is the best you can buy.
While the smoked salt may be foreign to Lebanese shores, My use of true Za’atar (wild Levantine thyme) is absolutely native – be sure you get the pure herb and NOT the identically-named blend of spices that includes sesame seeds. You want only the pure herb – buy a superb-quality product from here. Buy top-quality ground sumac from here.
Ground angelica is a rare herb used in Persian and Middle Eastern cooking that adds a unique flavor profile to the dish – it was used extensively in the Middle Ages in English and European cuisine. You can buy it from Amazon here. I do love My lamb shawarma slathered with both My toum garlic sauce as well as Yemeni zhoug hot sauce as well! Ceylon cinnamon and fenugreek can be purchased from their respective links.
My Citizens – this recipe uses a superb technique to give you as close to a true vertical spit-style shawarma as is possible to have at home – it is simply unmatched! I have every confidence that this will become a favorite recipe of you, your family and your VERY lucky guests who have the opportunity to sample My culinary wisdom and glory! 😀
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Lebanese Lamb Shawarma – شاورما لحم
- 3 lbs. leg of lamb, boneless
- 1 large onion, sliced into thick 1/2 inch slices
- 1 cup water
- Marinade Ingredients:
- 8 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 peeled very large shallot
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp. freshly-ground za’atar (wild thyme)
- 1 tsp. smoked Icelandic salt (kosher salt and a SINGLE DROP of hickory liquid smoke can be substituted)
- 1 3/4 tsp. freshly-ground cardamon
- 1 3/4 tsp. freshly-ground coriander seed
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground caraway
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp. powdered rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp. angelica powder (optional but TFD enjoys it)
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2–3 drops rose water, use a dropper to dispense!!! (wildly optional)
- Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 tsp. Tahini paste
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice
- 3 gloves garlic, crushed
- a dash of Kosher Salt
- Optional Toum Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 heads worth of the freshest peeled garlic you can get your hands on, preferably local garlic from a farmers market – if it still has the roots, it’s local. If not, it’s been shipped from China
- 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 4–5 cups or more grapeseed or sunflower oil, or more as needed – don’t use olive oil as it can make the result too heavy or bitter
- Lemon juice from 1 Meyer lemon (TFD modification, original recipe uses regular lemon)
- Sandwich Ingredients:
- French fries
- Pita bread
- Roasted or fresh chopped Tomatoes, bread and butter or Lebanese pickles, sliced onion
- Pinch of dried sumac powder
- Chopped Italian Parsley
- Zhoug hot sauce (optional but TFD loves it!)
- Shawarma Marinade: For any spices labeled ‘freshly-ground’: put the whole spices in a cast-iron pan set over medium-high heat and dry-roast them for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aromas. Take care not to burn them.
- Add the manufacturer-powdered spices, and toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process the spices into powder. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a blender for a couple of minutes.
- Pat the lamb dry, cut deep slits into the fat cap down into the meat and coat all sides of the leg very well with the marinade paste, including the inside where the bone was removed and into the slits. Roll it back up and wrap it in plastic wrap – refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Preparing the Tahini Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the the Tahini paste, crushed garlic, lemon juice and salt until you turn the paste into a sauce.
- Prepare the optional Toum sauce: Split the garlic cloves lengthwise and remove and discard any green sprouts, which can make the sauce taste bitter. Place the garlic and salt in a food processor and process until the garlic is *totally* puréed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice or more as necessary. At this point, turn the processor back on and keep it going until the end.
- Start adding the oil to the processor at a very slow rate, in a very thin stream, ½ cup at a time. After adding the first ½ cup, you will start seeing the garlic emulsify and turn into a paste.
- Now add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice very slowly, in a thin stream. Wait a few seconds until the lemon juice is well absorbed. Then go back to repeating the same process of slowly adding ½ cup of oil, waiting a few seconds, then adding ½ teaspoon of lemon juice until you’ve used all ingredients. This process should take about 6-8 minutes.
- The resulting garlic paste should be creamy white and fluffy, like beaten egg whites. If not, keep the motor running and add more oil to achieve the right color and consistency. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; seal and refrigerate for a few hours before using, and up to 3 weeks.
- Cook the lamb: Preheat oven to 350 F ( Plan on full 4 1/2 hours baking time, but check at 3 ½ hours)
- Place onion slices in the bottom of a dutch oven to create a base for the lamb. Place unwrapped lamb on the bed of sliced onion, seam side down, fatty side up.
- Pour 1 cup water into the dutch oven and cover with a heavy lid or foil and place in the oven for 2 ½ hours. Uncover the roast to let the top get golden, and continue cooking 1 hour. Check the roast. If the pan seems dry, add another ½ cup water. If the crust seems like its getting too dark, cover lightly with foil. Continue cooking until the lamb pulls apart easily with tongs or two forks…possibly up to another hour. If it’s still feeling tough, continue cooking until it is tender, checking every 30 minutes, making sure the top is not burning or that it is out of liquid in the bottom.
- Let stand a few minutes before cutting into small pieces. Place about 4-6 ounces (or to taste) of shredded shawarma lamb in a pita bread along the diameter, sprinkle some Tahini and Toum (if using) sauce, add freshly-grilled tomatoes, onions, french fries, pickles and a garnish of Italian parsley with a light sprinkling of sumac powder. Roll up pita and enjoy!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?
Leave a Reply