I can’t tell you all how happy it makes me that my brother, Henry, has FINALLY gotten the memo that Middle Eastern food is some of the best! I’m not sure why he’s been dragging his feet on this, but now that he’s fully on board, I’m ready to create his dream dish. So, when McCormick Gourmet reached out to me to create a recipe using two of my favorite Middle Eastern flavors, Shawarma and Za’atar, I knew Henry would be the inspiration.
With Henry’s new cuisine love affair, we often find ourselves romping around Los Angeles searching far and wide for the best and most unique Middle Eastern food we can track down. Everything from flatbread to skewered meats, we want it all. However, much like the rest of the Thomas family, Henrys preferred style of eating is standing around to chat and grazing simultaneously. That’s why a Mezze platter is perfect!
Not only does a Mezze platter offer a wide variety for the indecisive eater, it’s also a way to pair big, bold flavors with silky textures like yogurt. Or, in this case, the labneh, which is basically yogurt that’s been strained for so long it becomes the thickest and creamiest version of itself. Wondering if it’s incredible? The answer is yes! Thanks to McCormick Gourmet, we are able to bring these flavors into our kitchen whenever we want. Made better only by the tartness of McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, a trendy spice with deep roots, that you can sprinkle on flatbreads, mix with oil for dipping, or even toss with popcorn or nuts. It’s a hearty mixture of spices including thyme, marjoram, and sesame seeds. Of course, you can’t leave chicken skewers behind, and their best accompaniment is a proper spice blend like McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, including cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Not only is Shawarma perfect for chicken, it’s also a lovely aromatic blend of flavors to add to pork and steak marinades. The beauty of any snack platter is how customizable it can be, so I encourage you to get creative and infuse some global flavors into your dishes at home!
2 tablespoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon McCormick salt
2 teaspoons freshly McCormick Pure Ground Black Pepper
McCormick Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Combine everything in a large plastic bag, seal, and shake to combine. Marinate for one hour.
Heat your grill to medium heat. Alternate chunks of chicken and red onion on metal skewers. Lightly grease grill, place skewers down, and grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side.
GOAT CHEESE YOGURT DIP
1 1/2 cup labneh
1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup marinated goat cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil, to finish
Combine labneh, Za’atar, and herbs. Place into a bowl, crumble goat cheese on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil
McCormick Gourmet Shawarma Seasoned Chicken skewers
McCormick Gourmet Za’atar Seasoned Labneh dip