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Grind-Your-Own Chicken Shawarma Burgers

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr (includes chilling and resting times)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 burgers
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1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon sweet paprika 

1/2 teaspoon turmeric 

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic 

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/4 teaspoon chili powder 

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grilling

Butter, for buttering the rolls

4 sesame seed kaiser rolls, split

4 romaine lettuce leaves

1 cup giardiniera, chopped 

Lemon Tahini Sauce, recipe follows

Lemon Tahini Sauce:

1/4 cup tahini sauce

Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the chicken cubes on a baking sheet and put in the freezer until very firm, about 30 minutes. Put the blade and bowl of a food processor in the freezer as well.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic, allspice, chili, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon salt in a bowl. Mix in the olive oil to make a paste.
  3. Working in 2 batches, put the firm, almost-frozen chicken into the cold food processor and pulse 10 to 15 times until coarsely chopped. Transfer the chopped meat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken cubes. Add the spice blend paste to the meat and mix to gently combine. Divide the meat into 4 balls and flatten into 3/4-inch-thick patties.
  4. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Clean and oil the grates. Brush each patty with some oil, then season with a bit of salt and pepper. Grill until the inside of the patties registers 160 degrees F, about 5 minutes per side. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes. Butter and toast the rolls.
  5. Burger Build: On each roll bottom, place 1 leaf of romaine, then a burger and some giardiniera. Add a nice schmear of the Lemon Tahini sauce on each roll top.

Lemon Tahini Sauce:

  1. Vigorously whisk the tahini, lemon zest and juice, honey, olive oil and 2 tablespoons water together in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

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