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Djedj M'hammr | Moroccan Style Roasted Chicken




بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته


Djej M'hammr is a traditional Moroccan way of roasting chicken that often found in western Algerian homes. It's a simple three step process that yeilds the most succulent chicken you ever did taste. The first step is marinating the chicken in the famous Moroccan chermoula (herbs and spices). I would think a Moroccan might marinate her chicken early in the morning then have it cooking by lunch. But I think an overnight marinade would be best, but 30 minutes just might do for busy cooks out there. The seocnd step requires gently braising in an onion sauce in a large pot or pressure cooker. But it's the second stage which makes this dish shine. Let's have a look how to make this unbelievably delicious and irresistible dish!



active prep time: 10-15 mins | inactive prep time: 30min - 24hrs| cook time: 2 hrs 
4-5 servings



  • 1 whole chicken, cleaned and skin left on
  • water

FOR THE SPICE RUB:

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Harissa (to taste)
  • juice of one lemon
  • about 1 cup chopped parsley and cilantro
  • 100g butter or smen
  • 4 TBS olive oil


FOR THE SAUCE:
  • Generous pinch of saffron, crushed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • little mace (about the size of an olive)
  • Generous handful (about half cup green or violet olives)
  • 3 TBS olive oil



    TAKE all of the spice rub ingredients and make a paste. Smear the chicken throughly well with the mixture. Gently loosen then lift up the breast skin and back bone area and get the mixture in there too. Then and get the mixture in the chicken cavity also. 

    PLACE the chicken in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinade overnight, or for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

    ONCE marinated, place all the sauce ingredients in a large Dutch oven, Tadjine or pressure cooker. Add about 2 cups of water to the pot. Cover and cook on a low fire until the chicken soft to the touch, but not tender yet - about one hour.

    NOW remove the chicken from the pot and transfer into a retangular baking dish. Spoon about 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the pan. Dollop the chicken with knobs of butter. Then roast the chicken until tender and golden. Cooking time varies according to the size of your chicken.

    MEANWHILE, reduce the cooking liquid into a thick lush sauce. The onions should be mushy and soft when mashed with a fork. Optionally, you can add in the olives at this time, but beware for the saltyness.

    BASTE the chicken occasionally and rotating the pan halfway through cooking, for 30 -45 minutes, or until the skin is beautifully golden colour and the leg joint can be removed easily.

    ONCE the chicken and sauce are cooked, transfer the chicken onto a serving platter and pour the sauce over the chicken. Optionally, decorate with more olives or hard boiled eggs. Serve immediately with Algerian style homemade bread for scooping up the chicken and sauce.

    Subsitution
    The above spices can be easily subsituted for the Moroccan spice blend called Ras el Hanout.
    If you would like a change from chicken, try using turkey or duck with Moroccan preparation.

    Variation
    While this dish is usually served with fries or roasted potatoes, eggs, prunes, dried apricots are also traditional in some regions in Morocco. 

    Main Dish - Poultry, Moroccan, North African



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