If you like to cook Moroccan or North African food, or if you’re tired of using the same old spice blends over and over again, then one thing you need to add to your spice rack is Ras el Hanout.
Ras el Hanout is a spice blend common in North African cooking and features especially heavily in Moroccan cuisine. The name in Arabic means “head of the shop” and literally refers to the best spices the store has to offer. While it used to be only available at Middle Eastern grocers, specialty and well-stocked grocers now carry this popular spice blend. Each shop or company has its own unique secret blend, but a typical Ras el Hanout contains a mixture of:
How To Use Ras el Hanout
Ras el Hanout gives a pungent, warm flavor. The cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg also add sweet accents. Since it’s a blend, it’s convenient to use in marinades, as a rub or as a seasoning in Moroccan stews (tajine).
Moroccan Roast Chicken on VegetablesCourse: Main, poultryCuisine: MoroccanDifficulty: Medium
If you like North-African cuisine you will love this chicken recipe; warm in flavor with sweet accents.
1 chicken (about 1.2 -1.4 kg, best if organic)
1 – 2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice blend
1 small celery root (celeriac)
3 – 4 carrots
3 – 4 shallots
350 g / 12.3 oz cherry tomatoes
200 g / 7.1 oz stoned, green olives
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 -3 stems of mint
- Preheat the oven to 220C / 428F.
- Rinse and peel the celery root, parsnips and carrots, and cut into cubes. Peel and quarter the shallots. Rinse the tomatoes and remove the stalks. In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetables, olives and anise seeds with 3 tablespoons olive oil and spread on a deep baking tray or another ovenproof dish.
- Rinse the chicken inside and outside, pat dry and cut along the breast bone. Spread the chicken flat on the vegetables.
- Mix 1 – 2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice with 3 tablespoons olive oil, brush the chicken with the mixture and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes at 220C / 428F, then reduce the temperature to 180C / 355F and keep roasting until cooked through*.
- * A rule of thumb for cooking poultry is 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 additional minutes. The easiest way to check whether the chicken is cooked is by sticking a knife into the meat at the joint between the leg and the lower part of the breast. The juices should be clear when running out. If these are pink and milky, the chicken needs more time.