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Moroccan Braised Drumsticks with Ras el Hanout, Chickpeas, and Raisins

Moroccan Braised Drumsticks with Ras el Hanout, Chickpeas, and Raisins

Ras el hanout, which translates as the best in the shop, is a warming blend of herbs and spices from Morocco. Sometimes flowers are added; try adding 5 rosebuds and/or a pinch of lavender flowers, if you wish, to the following mixture. Some variations of ras el hanout have been known to contain belladonna and aphrodisiacs; this one does not. The quantities given make more than you'll need to prepare the drumstick dish, so plan on saving some ras el hanout for other Moroccan dishes. It is used in Morocco to flavor a wide range of dishes, and it certainly does its job in this richly spiced creation -- which may be described as exotic comfort food. The drumsticks, chickpeas, and raisins are terrific over a big platter of steamed couscous. Serves 4

SKU 722-Recipe

  • 4 Serves


  • for the ras el hanout
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken up
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 allspice berries
  • seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • a pinch of ground mace
  • for the chicken
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa, or more to taste
  • a pinch of freshly grated orange zest


  1. Make the ras el hanout: Grind all the ingredients to a fine powder in a coffee/spice grinder. (You will have about 1/4 cup.) Reserve.
  2. Make the chicken: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Pat the chicken dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and cook, in batches, turning with tongs, until golden brown, about 10 minutes each batch. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Stir in the onion, 3 tablespoons of the cilantro, garlic, coriander, and 1 teaspoon of the reserved ras el hanout, and cook, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes (add a bit of the stock if necessary to prevent sticking). Stir in the stock, and return the chicken to the Dutch oven. Cook at a bare simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Add the chickpeas, raisins, harissa, and orange zest to the Dutch oven, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Serve hot over steamed couscous, if desired, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro.