Djedj Mechoui (Algerian Roast Chicken)
- 1 (3 -4 lb) roasting chickens
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon seasoning, mixed (she recommends a mixture of sumac, sesame, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, ground)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons coarse salt
- coarse salt
- fresh ground pepper
- olive oil
- 3 -4 sprigs thyme
- Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
- Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and slide your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs to loosen/separate it from the flesh.
- Mash the garlic with the salt, using a fork or a mortar and pestle.
- Work the garlic/salt paste into the butter and then work in the spices; using your fingers, spread the spiced butter into the cavities between the skin and the flesh of the chicken.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Season the cavity with salt and pepper and place the four lemon halves and the thyme inside.
- Roast the chicken breast side down for 15 minutes.
- Turn the chicken breast side up and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Baste frequently, using additional water and olive oil as needed.
- If the skin begins to brown too soon, cover with foil (but remove the foil about 15 minutes before the roasting time is up).
- The chicken should be done in about 90 minutes; the skin between the breasts and the legs should become almost transparent, the legs should move easily in the socket, and any juices should be clear.
- Let rest before carving.
- Strain excess fat out of the cooking juices and squeeze in some lemon juice for a lovely flavor.
- Note: Zari suggests serving with orange salads dressed with pomegranate vinaigrette and carrot salads dressed with lemon, cumin and olive oil.HEALTHY APPETITE