Ras al hanout chicken legs with freekeh

This rustic one-pot dish is perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The beauty of this recipe is that you can leave the pot bubbling away on the stove gently at your leisure, leaving you time to curl up with a book until ready to indulge in this aromatic North African dinner. Serve alongside seasonal vegetables such as steamed fine green beans, tender stem broccoli or crispy kale.

Inspired by Pink Jinn’s Ras al Hanout spice blend, this wholesome dish celebrates the complex and aromatic blend of spices used widely across North Africa. Each batch of Ras al Hanout includes over 35 ingredients from saffron threads, fennel seeds and star anise to thyme, cassia and sweet paprika. You can purchase your own batch to use in your kitchen at home here.

Freekeh, which is used in this recipe, might not be a familiar ingredient, but this ancient grain is often grouped alongside the likes of spelt and quinoa due to its similar nature but also abundant health benefits. The wheat kernels that become freekeh are green in colour due to being harvested early. These are then dried, roasted and rubbed, the roasting technique enhancing the grain’s unique nutty flavour.

While the chicken tenderises within your steaming pot, the plump grains of freekeh work to absorb the meat’s juices alongside the aromatic flavour of this unique spice blend. Freekeh can be purchased at most health food shops and some supermarkets, but you can also use spelt in this dish for an equally delicious result.


(Serves 2 generously)

  • 2 chicken legs

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 small cloves of garlic, crushed

  • 2 tbsp Ras al Hanout spice blend

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 200g freekeh or pearled spelt, washed thoroughly

  • 400ml chicken stock

  • ½ 20g bag of fresh parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Start by marinading your chicken legs at least 1 hour before you plan to start cooking, a couple of hours at most. Place your legs in a bowl or pyrex dish then season generously with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil, garlic, Ras al Hanout and ½ the lemon juice and rub the sides of each leg with the marinade, then cover and place in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

  2. Using a deep casserole pan on a medium-high heat, brown the chicken legs for about 4 minutes until golden on each side.

  3. Pour in the 200g of freekeh / spelt and 400ml of boiling chicken stock. Bring back to the boil, and turn the heat down to a simmer for 35 minutes, stirring from time to time and adding more water as needed. Once done, the chicken will be starting to fall off the bone. Season with the remaining lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

*originally published on pinkjinn.com

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