Djedj Mechoui (Algerian Poulet Roti/Roast Chicken)

Recipe by Chef Kate
READY IN: 2hrs




  • 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.