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Moroccan-Inspired Roasted Spiced Chicken

4 Servings

45 minutes

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This recipe is our weeknight adaptation of djej mechoui, which translates from the Arabic as “grilled chicken.” Made the Moroccan way, the bird is seasoned with spices and herbs, along with smen, or fermented butter, before cooking. For our version, we throw together a simple spice-and-herb infused butter and brush it onto chicken leg quarters that then are roasted in a hot oven. The best way to lightly crush the cumin seeds is with a mortar with a pestle, or you can pulse them in a spice grinder. Either way, be careful not to process them to a powder so they retain their texture. Smoked paprika is a Spanish spice, but it lends rich color along with a flavor evocative of outdoor grilling.




Don’t be shy about cutting through the skin and meat when slashing the chicken. Make sure to cut all the way to the bone so the seasonings can go deep. The slashes also help speed up the cooking.

45 minutes


  • 5

    tablespoons salted butter

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, minced


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Anna D.

This is a great dish! We have tried it with both leg quarters and chicken thighs, and it always comes out juicy and flavorful.

Marianne S.

Could this recipe be adapted to work with chicken breasts as well for those who don’t like dark chicken meat… and if so how (what prep changes would be required)?

Lynn C.

Hi Marianne-

We haven't tested this with chicken breasts but we assume it would work. Timing will probably be different so just make sure you are temping the chicken for doneness. Chicken breasts should be cooked to 160-165 degrees.

The Milk Street Team