Whenever I visit my family in Morocco, my mother-in-law and my husband’s aunt will always make djaj mhamer, Moroccan baked chicken topped with a delicious onion, olive, preserved lemon, and spices sauce. This chicken is served with warm crispy fries which takes the meal to the next level. The good thing is that this Moroccan baked chicken recipe is pretty much Paleo in nature so I do not have to sacrifice much authenticity or the full flavor! The only substitution I am making is the use of grass-fed ghee instead of the traditional Moroccan fermented butter called smen. To Paleo-fy the side of fries, check out my Tex-Mex loaded fries recipe, but ONLY season with salt and pepper.
I would like to mention that the Moroccan baked chicken recipe I am using feeds a family of 3-4, but if you are cooking for a family of 5+ or have a larger appetite, you may want to double up the recipe and use 2 whole chickens. I have a family of 2 so I cooked one whole chicken and had enough leftovers to create 2 different meals. I used the leftovers to make a hearty chicken soup and a yummy chicken salad. Without further ado, lets get to cooking some yummy chicken!
Moroccan Baked Chicken – Djaj Mhamer
Paleo | Whole30 | Moroccan Cuisine
* A 4 pound whole chicken with neck and giblets removed
* Juice from 2 lemons
* 2 Tbsp ghee (separated by Tbsp)
* 2 white onions- chopped
* 4 garlic cloves- minced
* 1/2 a can of pitted green olives – olives only and no brine
* 1/2 a cup of chopped parsley
* 1/2 a preserved lemon- sliced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* A pinch of saffron threads
* 2 tsp ground ginger – separated by tsp
* 2 tsp turmeric – separated by tsp
* 2 tsp pepper – separated by tsp
* 2 cups water
1. Wash the chicken very well and marinade for at least 2 hours using the lemon juice and the separated spices listed above (1 tsp for each).
2. In a pot add the olive oil and 1 Tbsp ghee and set to medium heat.
3. Add in onions and garlic and sautee until nice and browned.
4. Add in the remaining spices, salt, and pepper and mix well with the onions and garlic
5. Add the 2 cups of water PLUS the saffron threads, preserved lemons, and parsley into the pot
6. Take chicken out of the marinade, tie the drumsticks with twine, and add it into the pot
7. Place a lid over the pot and allow to cook for a total of 20 minutes – 10 minutes per side
8. Set oven temperature to 425 F
9. Take the chicken out of the pot and add it to a baking dish breast side up
10. Spread ghee all over the chicken and then place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
11. While the chicken is in the oven, lower the stove top temperature to medium low and add the olives to the sauce
12. Stir the sauce occasionally until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce is nice and thick.
13. Taste sauce and adjust spices and salt to your liking.
Plating the Chicken:
* Remove twine from the chicken and place on a serving dish.
* Top the chicken with the olive and onion sauce making sure there is sauce all over the chicken.
Bonus Recipe for Chicken Leftovers
Paleo | Whole30 | American Cuisine | Salad
* 2 to 3 cups shredded chicken
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 1/4 cup sliced olives
* 1/4 cup chopped red onions
* 2 Tbsp Paleo or Whole30 compliant Mustard
* 2 to 3 Tbsp Paleo or Whole30 compliant Mayo
* 1 Tbsp cumin
* 1 Tbsp garlic powder
* 1/2 tsp pepper
* salt to your taste
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
2. Make sure everything is well combined and adjust salt to your taste.