TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Also called Ras el Hanout, this blend is a seamless amalgamation of salt, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, allspice, star anise, black pepper, clove, sage, and chili. It gives just the right amount of heat, like a hug for food—warm, but not spicy.
PREPARATION AND PAIRINGS
Ras el Hanout is an important part of North African cuisine, and it’s used in many different ways: as marinade for meats, as seasoning in tajine and stews, or stirred into couscous and rice.
You can make a simple Moroccan baked chicken dish, too, to fully appreciate the flavors of the blend.
Pre-heat your oven to 425F.
In a small bowl, mix The Gourmet Collection Moroccan Medley Blend with olive oil, salt, finely minced garlic, and lemon zest to make a paste.
Place chicken thighs into a medium-sized bowl. Pour in the paste, and toss the chicken. Make sure to coat all of its sides thoroughly. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour (you can let it sit overnight for more flavor).
Place the chicken onto a sheet pan, and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 165F.
Place onto a serving dish. Squeeze a lemon over it, and sprinkle with fresh parsley or mint.
Serve and enjoy!
TOP SHELF SPICE
Ras el Hanout is a complex, aromatic blend of spices that is a staple in the cuisines of North African countries, like Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. It is to North Africa as garam masala is to India.
Its name, in Arabic, literally means “head of shop,” and is translated to “top shelf.” This comes from the North African spice dealers, who would make a blend of their very best spices to make a “signature blend.”
Keep your spices tightly covered and store them in a cool, dry place. Whole spices stay fresh for up to 2 years while ground spices have a 6-month shelf life. Pro tip: red spices such as paprika and red pepper can be stored in the refrigerator to hold their color and keep their flavor longer.