Oven Baked Chicken Shawarma and Falafel with Rice Pilaf
Chicken marinated with a blend of fragrant spices, lemon juice, and olive oil can be baked and served as part of a meal or loaded into freshly baked pita bread for a mouthwatering sandwich. In this recipe the chicken is cut into small pieces before adding the marinade; however, you can bake whole pieces of chicken if you prefer.
When I plan to make chicken shawarma, all the other delicious Mediterranean foods I could serve with the chicken come to mind, so instead of one dish I find myself making a Convection meal. In this meal plan, I am also baking a rice pilaf with almonds and parsley as well as some oven Falafel and serving everything with a Greek salad.
What is the Benefit of Cooking a Complete Meal in Convection?
Looking at my meal plan you might ask why should I bother cooking all these foods in the oven when I have a perfectly good cooktop I can use to cook everything. Well if you prefer you can of course cook the chicken in a large sauté pan over high heat, cook the rice in another pan and fry the falafel in some oil.
Everything will be very delicious but you will need to stay at the cooktop while the food is cooking however if you can place three trays of food into the oven and leave them to cook you can set a timer and safely leave the food to cook itself. At the end of the cooking, you will have 2 baking sheets and one casserole pan to clean but no hot oil to dispose of and no cooktop to clean.
In short, the benefit of cooking a complete meal is convenience combined with great results.
Which Oven Mode Do I Use to Cook a Convection Meal?
This is a great question and not easy to answer because of course all ovens are different; that is why it is so essential to understand the tools that your oven has and where to place the food in the oven.
In my Gaggenau oven, the Convection mode is used for most cooking and the heat is only coming from the Convection element the food cooks and browns evenly. However, most ovens feature multiple cooking modes such as Convection Bake, Convection Roast, or Convection so you have to choose the appropriate mode.
If for example, you chose the Convection Bake mode to cook this meal, you have to think about where to place each pan. Ideally, you would place the chicken on the upper rack so it gets some good browning from the top heating element. The casserole with the rice is cooked covered so will be fine on the middle rack and for best results the falafel should be baked on the lowest rack.
The Convection Roast mode could also be used but because the heat is more intense in this mode watch the timing to avoid overcooking the food.
How Do I Determine Timing for Cooking Different Foods
In this meal all three items cook in approximately the same amount of time; however, if you were roasting a whole chicken or another large cut of meat you would need to factor in the cooking, resting, and carving time. In that case, you would add the side dishes in later so that they would be ready to serve when the meat was carved rather than sitting around and getting cold.
Cooking is much easier with a little planning and if you plan your cooking to make good use of your oven tools, you may find cooking less stressful. After all modern appliances are designed to help us achieve better results with our cooking, we just have to learn how to take advantage of the features.
I have been exploring cooking and baking in my new Convection Microwave Speed oven and in my next post I will review baking a sweet treat known as slice. In effect, it is a giant cookie that you cut into slices before serving. So if you like keeping a sweet treat on hand to enjoy with your morning or afternoon tea I hope you will check it out.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast