To continue with our reviews of Milk Street Tuesday Night Mediterranean, Robbie Cheadle weighs in on the cookbook and gives us a recipe and review of Chicken Shawarma.
Many of you long time readers are familiar with Robbie. She has generously shared her cooking expertise with us on several occasions. I don’t think anyone can forget her amazing Hummingbird Cake, https://newclassicrecipe.com/2022/05/10/hummingbird-cake-a-very-special-birthday-cake-for-a-very-special-mother/.
In addition to being an accomplished cook, Robbie is a fabulous writer and blogger. Her many talents can be found at https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com
Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean: 125 Simple Weeknight Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine by Christopher Kimball
About the book
Mediterranean based recipes which have been put together by the author with the objectives of speed and simplicity for everyday cooking in mind. The recipes are grouped under various headings including Fast (approximately 45 minutes start to finish), Faster (approximately 30 minutes start to finish), and Fastest (approximately 25 minutes start to finish), and then Salad Suppers, Hearty Vegetarian, Supper Soups, and Flat and Folded. The recipes used mainly common Mediterranean spices and ingredients that are easy to find in local shops and result in wholesome and tasty meals.
Several recipes, including the two recipes I chose to make, use a broiler for the cooking process. I do not have a broiler; in fact, I’ve never heard of this piece of equipment. I was able to modify the cooking process easily to one I am familiar with and have the necessary cooking equipment to accommodate.
I also used food items I had available in my house and did not purchase items specifically to make the selected recipes. As a result, my meals varied a bit from the ones in the book. I think the ease with which I adapted the recipes to suit my ingredients and cooking methods, was a big positive for the usefulness of this book.
The first recipe I attempted was the Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato-Sumac Sauce from the Fast section. You can find my adapted recipe and pictures of the dish on my blog here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2023/01/30/levantine-kebabs-in-chunky-tomato-sauce/
The second recipe I tried was Chicken Shawarma and this is the recipe I made. I have indicated where I made small adaptions due to ingredients and cooking methods.
|Original recipe||Robbie’s recipe|
|2 pounds (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds||1.8 kgs chicken thighs and drumsticks on the bone with skin|
|1 Tbspn ground cumin||2 Tbspns ground cumin|
|1 Tbspn ground coriander||2 Tbspns ground coriander|
|2 teaspoons hot paprika or 1 ¾ teaspoons sweet paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper||2 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper|
|1 teaspoon ground cinnamon||2 teaspoons ground cinnamon|
|Kosher salt and ground black pepper||Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to taste|
|1/3 cup plus 1 Tbspn extra-virgin olive oil||2/3 cup olive oil mix plus 2 Tbspns olive oil|
|3 tablespoons tahini, divided||6 tablespoons tahini divided|
|1 medium red onion, halved and sliced ½ inch thick||70 grams sliced red onion|
|1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt||2 cups full cream yogurt|
|1 cup lightly packed fresh mint, flat-leaf parsley, or a combination chopped||15 grams chopped mint, leaves only, and 10 grams Italian parsley, chopped|
|1 tspn grated lemon zest plus 3 Tbspns lemon juice||2 tspn grated lemon zest plus 6 Tbspns lemon juice|
My changes are in square brackets. In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Measure 1 teaspoon [two teaspoons] of the spice mix into a medium bowl and set aside.
Into the remaining spice mix whisk the olive oil, 1  Tbspns tahini, and 2  Tbspns lemon juice. Add the chicken and onion and toss to combine [Dip the chicken pieces in the mixture to coat them. Lay them on a baking grid in a foil-covered roasting pan. Cover the chicken with onion]. Let stand at room temperature while the broiler heats [heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius].
Chicken dipped in the marinade and covered with the red onion slices ready to go into the oven
Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Broil the chicken and onion until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides – 18 to 20 minutes. Flip the pieces halfway through cooking. [bake the chicken in the oven at 210 degrees C for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 190 degrees C and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn and continue to back for another 30 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked.]
Cooked chicken after it came out of the oven
Make the sauce by mixing the reserved spice with the yogurt, 1  Tbspn/s olive oil, 2  Tbspns tahini, the lemon zest 1  Tbspn/s lemon juice, the chopped mint and salt and pepper to taste.
Traditionally the chicken and sauce are served with a pita bread. I served mine with rice as I didn’t have pita bread. It was very good.
Final served dish with rice and a generous serving of the sauce.
I liked this cookbook, the recipes were reasonably simple to make and not overly time consuming, perfect for weeknight cooking for working moms. Some of the ingredients, like tahini, are expensive to purchase locally and that might be a consideration for people who are on a tight budget.
I purchased the ebook from Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/Milk-Street-Mediterranean-Weeknight-Healthiest-ebook/dp/B08FJDLRRX and look forward to making many more of the recipes.
About Robbie Cheadle
Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s books and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.
Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.
The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions, which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Find Robbie Cheadle
Thank you once again Robbie for sharing your talents with my readers. I used the delightful picture of Robbie and her Mom so that you can take a peak at the amazing hummingbird cake.
49 responses to “KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL COOKBOOK CLUB – Robbie Cheadle Reviews Chicken Shawarma”
We adore chicken shawarma..this looks fingerlickingly delicious!
I love Mediterranean food and this sounds wonderful
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Beth.
I love that you made your own adjustments to the recipe, and it looks absolutely delicious! There’s a lot of flavor packed into this one Robbie!
Hi Bernadette, thanks for sharing this recipe and for your lovely comments about my baking, writing and blogging. I have already made two recipes for the next book. This is a great challenge.
Many thanks to YOU Robbie for taking the time out of your busy life to join me in this project.
That looks very tasty, Robbie.
Best wishes, Pete.
So many amazing recipes from one cookbook! Robbie did a great job improvising and doubling the recipe, and it looks great. Also, nobody could forget that hummingbird cake… it was a masterpiece!
Thank you, Terrie. I made that hummingbird cake today for my oldest son’s birthday. He asks for it every year.
You picked a great recipe and adapted it well. I’m sure your family loved it!
Thank you, Darlene. I will be making, and adapting, a lot more of these recipes. I like this book.
Beyond the inviting aspect of this dish, it also seems to be very healthy! Thank you very much, Roberta:)
Hi Martina, Mediterranean cooking is much healthier than the usual local fare in South Africa which is heavy on fat and red meat. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.
Hi Bernadette, I am new here, I came via Robbie’s post, and so enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog..
Looks mouth very tasty Robbie.. and I feel many good cooks always tweak the recipes to adapt if we haven’t got quite all the ingredients.. Looks a wonderful cook book and I love Mediterranean style dishes…
Have a lovely weekend both of you. <3
Thank you for your lovely comment and I agree that everyone who loves to cook always makes a recipe their own.
Your most welcome <3
Hi Sue, thank you for visiting me here and I’m glad I could introduce you to Bernadette who has a lovely blog. This was a delicious meal and my family loved it. They’ve already asked me to make it again with pita bread.
Fantastic…. 🙂 I love satisfied eaters LOL <3
One of the things I liked about this book was just how many of the ingredients are store cupboard staples for us. The term “broiler” was a newie for me, but I have a stove top cast iron grill pan that I think would do the job. A great choice to feature.
Hi Jo, I also liked that about this particular book. I have discovered that broiler is the English grill if that helps you.
Thanks Robbie, yeah I worked that out…I have a cast iron stove-top grill pan (that I prefer to use instead of the in the oven one…)
Mediterranean foods are greatly loved at our house – thanks for sharing the recipe!
My pleasure, it is a really good one.
That looks awfully good, Robbie and Bernadette. I always check out the spices and I love the combination in this – not something I usually see or use on chicken. Once again, you’ve inspired me to give a new recipe a try. Thanks for the great photos and the review of the cookbook. Thanks, Bernadette for hosting Robbie. A wonderful idea!
It is always my pleasure to see you Diana in my inbox. Have a wonderful weekend.
Hi Diana, I do have a lot of spices in my home because I use a lot and so does hubby. He loves spicy food. This is very nice and you could make less for a smaller family too.
I made it yesterday, Robbie. It was delicious! I’m usually not very adventurous with spices (garlic, salt, and pepper), so I love trying new flavors.
Me too, I love different flavors and also designs (with icing)
Lol And you’re good at it!
This looks very good. I’d probably leave out the cinnamon.
My husband is not fond of cinnamon and I usually substitute nutmeg for it. Have a wonderful weekend Liz.
Thank you, Bernadette. I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.
You can’t taste the cinnamon, but leaving out would also be fine. My mom doesn’t like cinnamon either.
I like cinnamon, but not with meat.
Middle Eastern food is immensely popular in Australia and chicken shawarma is oft made. There are so many interesting small spice merchants around one tends to buy the mix – I do make my own, a tad of chilli always part of the whole 🙂 ! Lovely! Have grilled, baked and cooked on the stovetop . . . one statement here escaping me > if one has a cooker how is it possible not to have a grill (broiler) which here is in use oft from breakfast to supper? Alright – some stoves only have it in the roof of their oven(s) – I always buy the usual one with a grill drawer under the hotplates but above the oven . . . strong heat from the top, about three heights for the grill tray to sit on below . . . how can one brown the top of any dish without the function? Perchance I am missing something here 🙂 ?
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I am not sure how to answer your question since I live in the U.S. But, Robbie does live in Africa and I can only assume that appliances are designed differently in that market. Have a wonderful weekend.
I only recently discovered that a broiler is a grill in an oven. I cook with gas so the design is different and I’ve never used the grill option. It came out very well my way too.
*smile* It’s a small world – I was just ‘speaking’ to a food blogger friend in Capetown – must ask her as she cooks with electricity! In Australia one probably uses the cooker grill drawer or grill in the oven more than once a day – one does not always put the barbecue on! How do you make the ever-present frittatas and shakshuka and every-day grilled steaks and chops etc? How do you make grilled cheese etc sandwiches? Like for everyday breakfasts? Interesting . . . but it is great fun to learn the ‘how’s across the world . . . !
We don’t eat a lot of grilled food and very rarely braai 😊
Hi, Robbie – I love how you took the original recipe, made it your own, and then shared both versions with us. That was very helpful. Your Kebabs and your Chicken Shawarma both look delicious@
It is always fun to see what changes people make to recipes. If I am going to make a recipe from NYT Cooking, I always read the comments. I have gotten some great suggestions from the comments. Have a wonderful weekend Donna.
Thank you, they were both delicious and I will make more of the recipes in this book.
i do love a spicy chicken dish, and this sounds very tasty. We have a gas oven with a grill on top, but we never use it! 🙂
We love spice and this chicken shawarma looks and sounds delicious definitely one to try its always good to have a recipe that you know has been properly tried and tested 🙂 x
Especially in a home kitchen.
Great to see Robbie here and catch up on her review. She always manages to adapt all recipes to her family’s taste, and that is a big talent. I do love Mediterranean food, so I’ll check this one out. Thanks, Bernadette!
I love that you adapted the recipe to your taste and what you had. I’ve never had chicken shawarma, but it sounds very good!