When I was growing up, Djaj Mahshi was an absolute favorite of mine. I remember the excitement when my mother would remove the juicy chicken from the oven and we would all wait impatiently at the dinner table. I used to watch my mother cut through the chicken and see all the rice and nuts released.

In Palestine, stuffed chicken is a staple dish that is always on offer during festive times. Full of fragrant spices and flavor, it’s wonderful to eat with a side of plain yogurt and salad.

Preparation time

  • 30 minutes

Cooking time

  • 1.5 hours

Serves

  • 4 pax

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large chicken (1.5kg)
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

For the Stuffing

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 300g minced beef
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup rice
  • 30g pine nuts, toasted
  • 30g almonds (optional)

Method

  • Rinse chicken and rub with lemon. Set aside for ½ hour.
  • Rub the inside of the bird with salt and nutmeg, and the outside with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
  • Wash and drain the rice. Set aside. 
  • Meanwhile, brown the minced beef with butter, a sprinkling of salt and spices to taste. 
  • Mix the rice together with the meat and add ¾ cup hot water. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cook for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
  • Add pine nuts and spoon the mixture into the chicken. 
  • Secure the skin together with a toothpick or thread. 
  • Preheat oven 425F / 220C. 
  • Place the chicken on a greased pan and cover with aluminum foil, cooking for about 1 hour. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. This will make the outside of the chicken golden and crispy.
  • When serving, pour some of the juices from the pan over the chicken and serve hot with a side of plain yogurt.

 

Tanya
Tanya

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.

She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.

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