24 January 2011

Ras-el-Hanout rubbed Chicken breast, with Sweet Potato mash

I have been eyeing up various packets of Ras-el-Hanout spice mix for what has been a quite ridiculous length of time.  I was terribly tempted to get some and then find out what to do with it, but knowing how quickly spices lose their best, I decided to go about it the other way around.

Hence, I’ve been looking at various recipes that involve the mix and quietly learning what the possibilities are.

The end result came about rather more quickly than I anticipated as hubby returned home from a shopping jaunt proudly brandishing a packet of Ras-el-Hanout.

I’d love to tell you what’s in this pack, but unfortunately the manufacturers are keen to keep the knowledge to themselves and haven’t provided a list.  Which does make me a tad worried as to whether we’re sprinkling our chicken with desiccated camel dung, but I have put my faith in “the Authorities” and hope that they did their work properly when authorising it for sale in the U.K.

However, I can tell you that it definitely contains cinnamon, clove and cumin.  As to what all the other flavours are, well that’s up for conjecture.

This recipe is, in fact, my second go at using the spice mix.  The first go has drifted off into the mists of time that followed on from Christmas.  I know that we approved of it, whatever it was, and that it was a casserole/tagine of sorts.  We definitely enjoyed it, as it gave me the confidence to try this dish where the spice mix is rather more the star of the show.

Interestingly, I also ventured into one of our local butchers for the three chicken breasts required.  The cost came to rather more than I’d have wanted to pay, but having seen the size of the things once they were cooked and tasted the vast difference between that and supermarket slop, it was definitely worth every penny.

The Parmesan Tomatoes were perfect with it.
Just halve your tomato, season, add grated parmesan and bake for 20 mins

Ingredients :

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-4 tsp Ras-el-hanout spice mix
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
200ml chicken stock
2 tsp clear honey
juice of half a lemon
handful of olives (I used black), pitted preferably
large knob of butter
2 tbsp double cream
20g coriander, leaves chopped
salt & pepper

Method :

1.  Place the chicken breasts into a bowl or large freezer bag and sprinkle over as much of the spice mix as you require to coat liberally, plus seasoning.

2.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken breasts until golden.  (Around 3-4 minutes).  Reserve them somewhere to keep warm.

3.  Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10-15 mins (depending on how small you’ve cut them), or until tender.

4.  To the frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 mins slowly, until softened.  Add the stock, honey, lemon juice and olives, return the chicken to the pan, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is syrupy and the chicken cooked.  If one breast cooks before another, just remove it to keep warm and replace it for a quick warm up before serving.

5.  Mash the potatoes with the knob of butter and the double cream, remembering to season them to taste.

Serve the chicken upon the mash, with the sauce drizzled over and oven-baked parmesan tomatoes beside.


  1. This sounds really interesting, l don't generally go for spice mixes, make my own, and l have'nt seen this particular mix, so, l will look out for it. Always try summat once. (Hence the ONE daughter).:)
    Blogs not done yet, Ally, has'nt got round to it, hopefully very soon, all will be notified, via the national press, and Mothercare.....lol. :0).

  2. Looks yummy and Parmesan tomatoes finish it nicely!

  3. Willie, if you ever find yourself on the Ashley Road in Parkstone, you can get some from Makkah Foodstores. That'd be the most affordable place, as any Supermarket will charge three times the money for a third of the quantity.

    Jan, when I was considering the dish, I pondered what to put with it. The sweet potato mash was already part of the recipe, it just needed something else. Unfortunately and in the process, I discover that my son is one of those people who will happily steal fresh cherry tomatoes from the fridge, but won't countenance cooked tomatoes. Hey ho, at least hubby and I enjoyed them!

  4. Okay, I have NEVER heard of Ras-el-Hanout. Ever. I feel you have uncovered some sort of spice based secret! ~toddles off to Google~ Ah ha! West African! Not the kind of thing I would have come across around these parts!

  5. Well worth getting hold of though. The thing that intrigued me most about it - and something I can't be sure of without an ingredients list for the mix I've got - is that it included crushed dried rose petals. I'm quite sure I detect those sorts of floral notes within the version I've got, but can't be sure, unfortunately.


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