When my mom came for a visit last month, I took her to one of my favorite places: Savory Spice Shop. It’s locally based with several Colorado locations; for me, that’s a big reason it will always win out over some of the national competitors that have tried to move in on SSS’s market. I love being able to get super fresh spices in a variety of quantities and I really appreciate their selection of unusual spices and custom spice blends. I’ve also consistently received friendly, helpful service, which is a huge draw.
One of the fun aspects of SSS is that there are recipe cards available throughout the store that incorporate the spices sold there. When my mom and I were at the Boulder location, I noticed a recipe for Chicken Ras el Hanout. I had purchased some Ras el Hanout when I was experimenting for Greek-themed gourmet club back in September, and I still had a decent amount left in the pantry. I purchased a small bag of crystallized ginger to round out my ingredient list (along with some mulling spices and a muslin bag for wine!), and we were on our way.
Here’s the recipe:
Chicken Ras el Hanout
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
16 dried plums or apricots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-proof, lidded sauté pan, cook onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, Ras el Hanout and chopped ginger. Cook another 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat. Salt and pepper chicken. Remove onion mixture and put chicken in pan (adding more oil if necessary) and cook about 2 minutes on each side. Return onion mix to pan with dried plums or apricots and chicken stock. Cover and put in oven for 30 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking time.
Serve with rice or couscous.
Recipe courtesy of Vivian Peterson, Savory Spice Shop customer
This dish was really tasty, and it was a nice departure from “everyday” chicken. I’m a huge fan of the sweet-savory flavor profile created by the combination of the dried plums and the sautéed onions and garlic; the ginger added a hint of heat and spice but certainly wasn’t overwhelming (as ginger sometimes can be). The end result was pretty “saucy.” I was advised by a SSS employee to cut the amount of broth, which I did by 1/4 cup. Admittedly, though, this was more because there’s actually 1 3/4 cups of broth in a can instead of a full 2 cups. I actually liked the amount of liquid in the dish, though; I think it helped keep the chicken moist during cooking, it plumped up the dried plums, and it also made a nice sauce to go with the couscous for serving. Since it was easy and delicious, I would definitely make this recipe again.
TIPS: Without fail, I end up touching the hot (!) handles of any cookware I’m used to using on the stove top but have placed in the oven for a particular recipe. Stay on your toes!