Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Ras El Hanout seasoning from Pinch Spice Market. Pinch has a variety of interesting stuff I will be trying soon. I used the Raas El Hanout (pronounced like – ross el ha newt) in my first ever attempt at tagine cooking to do a tagine quail. While I still need to dial in cook time and temp settings a bit to master the tagine, the flavor was off the hook.
I am a big fan of making up your own mixes but this is one I am happy to let someone else do. Ras El Hanout seasoning is sort of like the Moroccan answer to curry. It is curry like in flavor (similar to a yellow Indian curry) but not as strong in that “curry way”. I’ll put it this way, my wife doesn’t like Indian yellow curries at all, but she loved this stuff. And yet I find them quite similar.
The way it is like curry though is there is no one way to make a Ras El Hanout, every cook in Morocco is likely to have their own, and of course theirs is “the best”. This mix uses a lot of spices, you will see recipes for it with anywhere from 15-30 different ingredients. This brand was the best I could find, the company says they worked on it for over six months and the effort shows. It is made up of a whopping 26 spices, they are,
- black pepper
- grains of paradise
- lemon peel
- anise seed
Yea with a list that long of so many exotic spices I am content to let someone else mix it. It is a bit pricey at 12 bucks for 4 ounces but a little goes a long way. For the quail I put four quail in an unglazed tagine, it is important to properly season a tagine before using it. I added colored baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, shallots, olive oil, water, garlic, lime zest and bay. I also used about two teaspoons of the Ras El Hanout.
The quail leg quarters were perfect but I slightly over cooked the breast, I think I need to cook at a lower temp and sear the birds before putting them in the tagine. Also a bit more liquid to more braise the quails. They would be best cut into quarters too, so they braise better. These were older cull birds and since they free range in the aviary they do get a bit tough. Next up will be tagine venison!
The liquid in the tagine was a wonderful clear yellow broth, it screams out to go on rice or couscous. We really try to keep carbs as low as we can but I am going to have to make up a bit of either at some point try with this. I would also say saffron would be a good addition to the basic recipe of a tagine dish.
This seasoning though need not be confined to tagine cooking, it will add huge flavor to almost anything. Fried potatoes would be exotic as hell seasoned with this. I can only imagine what slow cooked lamb in this stuff will be like. Based on the taste of the quail it seems like this stuff will have a love affair with chicken, slow cooked, grilled, saute’d, it doesn’t matter. In fact here are a bunch of ideas for using Ras El Hanout.
This is one of those things that is like a cooking cheat code, sort of like a curry paste or a stock paste is. You want to take something in a certain direction, add this to taste and you are a kitchen rock star that night.
Oh and did you see the one thing not in this stuff? Salt! This is good in a lot of ways. First I hate paying for high end organic spices when 10-20 percent by weight is fricken salt! That is not good economics. Second I like to control my own salt levels. But I realized that some people have to omit or severely limit salt, wow, this is a product for you, massive flavor, no salt.
So give Ras El Hanout seasoning from Pinch Spice Market and I think you are really going to enjoy it. Spices and seasonings are a great thing for preppers to store on hand. If you are inclined to store some extra of this stuff, I would go with a well sealed ball jar. Don’t use vac seal bags with anything like this, you end up with bad clumping, trust me I know.
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P.S. – Here is some solid food porn from the quail dish described.