Roasted Chicken “Tagine”


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 1/2 pounds Brine
  • 1/2 preserved lemons
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Brine chicken 4 hours or overnight, remove from brine and pat dry. Cut the flesh away from the preserved lemon rinds; reserve. Slice rinds into strips.

Separate the skin from the meat of the bird and tuck 2 pieces of preserved lemon rind, pith side down, with 2 sprigs of thyme on the breast. Do the same but with 1 piece of lemon rind and 1 thyme sprig for each thigh. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and rub the bird inside and out with the preserved lemon flesh.

Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt, set on a roasting rack, breast-side-down, and roast in a 500 F preheated oven, 15 minutes. Turn chicken, breastside- up, and spread butter over the breasts. Return to the oven and roast until browned and the temperature registers 160 F, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Rest chicken, 20 minutes. Carve tableside or quarter and plate with accompaniments such as green olives, fried herbs (your choice), julienned preserved lemon rind, roasted cipollinis, couscous or heirloom beans with feta and za’atar. Makes 4 servings.

To make brine, bring to boil 1 quartered preserved lemon, ½ cup cracked green olives with brine, 6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 5 dried bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, 1½ tablespoons thinly sliced garlic, ½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns and 1 gram Spanish saffron. Remove from heat, let sit 20 minutes and add 2 quarts ice cubes.

Recipe by Chef-owner Mourad Lahlou
Mourad, San Francisco