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From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Méchoui or Meshwi is a whole sheep or lamb spit-roasted on a barbecue[1] in Maghrebi cooking. The word comes from the Arabic word šawā (شواء, "grilling, roasting").[2] This dish is very popular in North Africa.[3]

In Algeria and Morocco, the term méchoui "refers to the method of cooking a lamb or a sheep cooked whole on the spit".

In Tunisia it means any piece of meat or fish grilled over a fire.

Preparation[change | change source]

Méchoui roasting over a wood fire

All the internal organs of the lamb are removed from the body apart from the kidneys. The body is stitched up after being sprinkled with spices, particularly ras el hanout. The lamb is skewered on a tree branch and cooked next to a wood fire. It is rotated slowly and evenly so as to ensure evenly distributed cooking.

The prepared lamb is not placed directly above the fire. Melting fat could catch fire. The cooking is started gently, so that the interior cooks almost at the same time as the outside. During cooking, the meat is brushed with melted butter or oil, to make it crispy. Gradually, the lamb is brought close to the hot fire, so that the flesh takes on an amber color. The cooking time varies according to the weight of the animal, typically about a quarter of an hour per kilogram.

Presentation[change | change source]

A Méchoui buffet

Méchoui is a dish served at the beginning of the meal, as part of a feast or diffa. With the fingers of the right hand, the host takes pieces of grilled meat and offers them to guests. Traditionally, no cutlery is used to serve a mechoui, because, due to the slow cooking, the meat should be able to detach without any effort.

The nomadic populations, in addition to their main herd often composed of several thousand sheep, raise a small number of male lambs specifically for mechoui, feeding them with cheih, a species of wild mugwort which gives the lamb a distinctive character.

References[change | change source]

  1. Waldron, M.; Young, E. (1988). Barbecue and Smoke Cookery. One Hundred One Productions Series. 101 Productions. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-89721-160-4. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  2. "Méchoui nom masculin (Mot arabe ) - Encyclopédie Larousse". Archived from the original on 2010-03-28. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  3. Guides, I. (2017). Insight Guides Experience Marrakesh. Insight Experience Guides. Apa Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-78671-841-9. Retrieved 2022-06-02.