Shish taouk -- Middle Eastern garlic chicken on skewers -- launched my food writing career more than twenty years ago, and it's still one of my all-time favorite dishes to cook on the grill. Except this summer, when it's been so hot and humid, I haven't wanted to stand outside next to a blazing hot grill, not even for the sake of chicken. Once again, the slow cooker has come to the rescue, producing this very good adaptation of garlic chicken in a shredded form suitable for stuffing into pitas, tortillas or lavash wraps. The kitchen stays cool, and my husband Ted and I can get our garlic chicken fix even in the warmest weather. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts; chicken thighs will work equally well. Serve with chopped lettuce and tomato, add some cucumber if you like, and top it all, as we do, with your favorite buttermilk ranch dressing.
Slow cooker Middle Eastern garlic chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-1/2 lbs)
4 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 4 cloves mashed (or garlic paste from a jar)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
Trim the chicken breasts, and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl with remaining ingredients, and mix well. Marinate, covered or in a zip-loc bag, in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours, or overnight.
Place chicken and all of the marinade in a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker.
Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours (or on LOW for 5 hours), until the chicken breaks apart easily. (If you're home, stir the chicken once or twice during the cooking time.) Remove the chicken from the cooker; use two forks to shred it, and return the shredded chicken to the cooker. Stir to combine with the liquid. Cover, and continue cooking on HIGH for 15 minutes.
Turn the cooker off and let the chicken sit, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; it will continue to absorb any excess liquid in the cooker.
Pour the chicken and any liquid into a container. Cover and cool at room temperature. Serve the chicken with pita bread, chopped lettuce and tomato, and your favorite buttermilk ranch-style salad dressing.
Refrigerate leftover chicken for several days, or freeze.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Garlic chicken on skewers
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Chicken souvlaki, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemon garlic chicken wings, from Cooking by the seat of our pants
Baked chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, lemon, and rosemary, from Wandering Chopsticks
Pepper-roasted garlic and lemon chicken, from Almost Bourdain
Roasted chicken and potatoes with yogurt, lemon and garlic, from TasteFood
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