Algerian Mechoui from Algeria

Traditional Algerian Mechoui
A Popular Delicacy in Algeria

Algerian Mechoui is a traditional North African dish that consists of roasted whole lamb or sheep that is cooked slowly over an open fire. This dish is a popular delicacy in Algeria and is usually served during special occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and family gatherings.

Preparing the Mechoui

To prepare the Mechoui, the lamb or sheep is first cleaned and seasoned with a mixture of herbs and spices, including cumin, coriander, garlic, and paprika. It is then placed on a spit and slowly roasted over an open fire for several hours until the meat is tender and juicy.

Algerian Mechoui Dish

As the meat cooks, it is basted with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and spices to keep it moist and infuse it with flavour. The Mechoui is typically served with bread and a variety of side dishes, including couscous, roasted vegetables, and salads.

A Dish for Special Occasions

One of the unique features of the Algerian Mechoui is that it is cooked outdoors, usually in a rural setting, and is often a communal activity that brings people together. Families and friends gather around the fire to cook and enjoy the meal, which is often accompanied by traditional music and dancing.

A Dish That Celebrates the Simple Pleasures of Food

The Mechoui is a symbol of hospitality and generosity in Algerian culture and is a testament to the country’s rich culinary traditions. It is a dish that celebrates the simple pleasures of food, family, and community and is a must-try for anyone interested in experiencing the vibrant flavours of North African cuisine.

How to prepare the Algerian Mechoui

1 whole lamb or sheep                                                                                                                                    1 cup Olive oil                                                                                                                                                    8 cloves of Garlic, minced                                                                                                                              4 tablespoons Paprika                                                                                                                                    4 tablespoons Coriander                                                                                                                                3 tablespoon Cumin                                                                                                                                        1 cup unsalted butter, melted                                                                                                                            Salt and pepper to season

  1. Trim any excess fat from the lamb, but leave enough to protect and moisten the meat. Mix the olive oil with the garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and rub this mixture all over the meat.
  2. Spit-roasted whole méchoui: You’ll need a whole lamb (a 35-pound animal will serve about 30 to 40 people), a fire pit, and a spit rotisserie.
  3. Fill the gut cavity with onions, tomatoes, garlic, etc. for flavour, and sew it up with cooking twine. Get your fire going. Set up the rotisserie (in front of the fire, not over it) and rotate the spit slowly for 4 to 5 hours, or until all the meat is cooked through, moist, and tender.
  4. Salt the meat from time to time and baste it periodically with melted butter to encourage a crispy skin.
  5. Remove the spit from the fire and let the meat rest a bit. Then use clean hands to remove the meat from the bones and onto serving platters. Eat it up!
  6. North African spice blend: For a more complex flavour, add a nice spoonful of ras el hanout spice blend to the paprika, coriander, and cumin listed above.

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