by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’

In July at All The Best we continue our culinary journey east across the Mediterranean with a short side trip to enjoy the exotic flavours of North Africa. The aromas of the Moroccan spice market-cardamom, coriander and cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves- fill our kitchen. Chef Olivia has created our own version of ras el hanout, the traditional blend of ground spices used throughout North Africa to flavour soups, stews and tagines.

Ras el Hanout (‘Top of the Shop’ Spice Blend)
In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast 6 whole allspice, 3 whole cloves,1½ tsp (7 ml) coriander seeds and 1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds. Stir constantly, just until aromas are released, 2 to 3 minutes. In a spice mill combine toasted whole spices, 1 ½ tsp (7 ml) black peppercorns, 1 ½ tsp (7 m) cinnamon, 1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger and ¼ tsp (1 ml) cayenne and process until finely ground and blended.
Store spice mixture in a covered container in a cool cupboard and use whenever a touch of sweet spiciness is needed.
Makes about 2 ½ tbsp (37 ml)

Moroccan B.B.Q. Wings
You’ll find lots of uses for this rich, mellow spice mixture. Season lamb, vegetable and legume stews and side dishes and add to rubs, pastes or marinades when preparing chicken or lamb for the grill. Lemony couscous or saffron rice and a platter of grilled vegetables go nicely on the side.

24 chicken wings
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 lemons, sliced
2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh coriander

Moroccan B.B.Q. Flavour Paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 ml) Ras el Hanout
1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon zest
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey (opt)

  1. To make the flavour paste: In a small bowl, or with pestle and mortar, pound garlic with Ras el Hanout, lemon zest, and oil. Add honey to sweeten, if you like.
  2. Cut off and discard tips from wings and cut wings in two at the joint. Rub the paste into the chicken to coat on all sides. If time allows, set the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. Grill wings over medium heat, turning occasionally and brushing lightly with oil, until cooked through, crisp and golden. Serve garnished with lemon and chopped coriander.

Tip: The wings can also be cooked in the oven: Set them on a rack over a baking sheet in a 350° F (180° C) oven and bake until cooked through and golden, about 45 minutes.

Makes 48 pieces

Enjoy and all the best,