There’s something about Mediterranean cooking that immediately gets you salivating, the use of spices that inspire flavourful aromas, awaken the taste buds and gets you going for seconds are in abundance.

Cuisines from Algeria also inspire such flavour, so this weekend we will be cooking Algerian Djedj Mechoui – which is basically a lemon flavoured chicken dish from the city of Constantine in Algeria.   

This city (Constantine) is the third largest in Algeria and has a couple of beautiful picturesque bridges connecting the mountains the city is built on. You can also find museums and historical sites if you ever decide to drop by.

So if you like to try new things like I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work!

Cooking Time: 120 Minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients: 1 (3-4 lb) roasting chickens

2 lemons, halved

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. seasoning, mixed (a mixture of sumac, sesame, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, ground)

1 1⁄2 tablespoons coarse salt

fresh ground pepper

olive oil

3-4 sprigs thyme


Cooking Method: Preheat 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.

Djej Mechoui.JPG.4

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.

Constantine roast-chicken

You can serve this with Slata Bel Clementinas; a salad made with onions and clementines.

Feel free to email us at [email protected] on what you think or share your African recipes or follow/tag us on instagram so we can like your foodie pictures or send your recipe to be featured.

Udochi Anyogu
Yuddie is a lover of life, travel and food. She sources information on recipes from around Africa and shares it with the world.
Udochi Anyogu
Udochi Anyogu

Latest posts by Udochi Anyogu (see all)