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Shared by Nir Mesika

Egyptian Chicken Sofrito

Yield: 4 - 6 servingsTime: 2h

Egyptian Chicken Sofrito

Yield: 4 - 6 servingsTime: 2h

This recipe was shared by Nir Mesika. Read more about his family in "Schmaltzy Spotlight / Nir Mesika: When a grandmother’s memory inspired a hit restaurant." 


  • 1 organic whole chicken (about 3 lbs), quartered (have the butcher do this for you!)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. fingerling potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 cup of Canola oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and very coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Main CoursesMeat Gluten FreeNorth Africa


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°.

  • Step 2

    Season chicken pieces on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine turmeric, cardamom, and olive oil in a small bowl. Using hands, thoroughly rub each chicken piece with the mixture (this step can be done up to a day in advance).

  • Step 3

    Heat canola oil in a large dutch oven on high heat (the oil needs to be very hot in order to brown the chicken). Brown chicken skin side down, about 3-5 minutes per piece.

  • Step 4

    Transfer chicken to plate and add potatoes to pot. Cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Remove all but single layer of potatoes from pot. Turn heat down to medium. Add garlic and cook until it just starts to brown, about 1 minute. As soon as you see the first signs of browning add the juice of one lemon (this will slow the cooking of the garlic).

  • Step 6

    Add the chicken pieces in one layer on top of the single potato layer. Layer the rest of the potatoes on top of the chicken.

  • Step 7

    Add 1.5 cups (2.5 for larger chicken) of warm water (about halfway up the pot), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, cover and place in the oven for 1.5  hours making sure that the liquid doesn’t reduce too much.

  • Step 8

    Uncover and broil for 12-15 minutes until chicken skin is golden brown and crispy.

  • Step 9

    Baste with sauce from pot.

  • Step 10

    Serve with rice.