I’ve been on a Moroccan bender for the past year, especially after “discovering” this quality blend of the aromatic Moroccan spice Ras el Hanout from Awaken Savor Spices. Ras el Hanout can contain more than 30 ingredients and is a traditional Moroccan blend of herbs and spices, popular across the Middle East and North Africa. The name means “head of the shop” in Arabic and represents the very pinnacle of spice blends – for Moroccan souks (spice merchants) it’s a point of honor to have the most sought after version of this blend. Ingredients include saffron, paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, tumeric, fennel seed, and allspice to name a few.
I first used it in my 5-Minute Spicy Hummus recipe posted last year and, funny sidenote: my volunteering at a #140 Meetup at the Comedy Store the same day, led to a mention of my site and contributed to hummus trending on Twitter that night If you love Moroccan cuisine, I highly recommend adding Ras el Hanout to your array of spices. Rather than having individual bottles of all the spices that typically go into a Moroccan dish, a tablespoon or two of this exotic blend is all you need.
For Green Bean week, this is Simple + Seasonal recipe #3 highlighting tender, young green beans fresh from the garden or your nearest local farmer’s market. I adapted this from a Bon Appetit recipe that I saved from years ago. The original recipe called for about 10 different spices, simplified by using Ras el Hanout Similar to a tagine, this Morrocan stew is made in one large pot or dutch oven. Feel free to vary the vegetables – it’s fantastic with roasted eggplant, zucchini or roasted cauliflower.
Moroccan Chicken with Green Beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons Ras al Hanout
1-14½ ounce can no salt added organic, diced tomatoes*
½ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic
1 lb. fresh young green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large wide skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions. Cover and cook until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add paprika and Ras al Hanout, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Arrange the chicken in the pan in a single layer, spoon some sauce over the chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender, about 15 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 2 minutes for young, smaller green beans, 3 minutes for larger green beans. Remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
4. Stir in marjoram, add blanched green beans around the chicken, spoon some sauce over, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to blend flavors and heat through. Season to taste with more lemon juice, if desired, and salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to large shallow bowl or rimmed platter. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro. Excellent served with couscous to soak up all the delicious sauce.
* I used Trader Joe’s No-salt added, organic diced tomatoes.
Every month, Nancy at Spicie Foodie hosts a Your Best Recipe (YBR) roundup to bring together in one spot some of the best recipes in the food blogosphere. I’ve included my Moroccan Chicken with Green Beans in the YBR June Roundup – take a minute to check out some of the other delicious dishes – just click on the button