Moroccan Tagine

I LOVE tagine recipes for a few simple reasons:

  1. They are simple and require minimal prep,
  2. There’s little in the way of clean up!
  3. Tagines taste delicious, combining a mouthwatering combo of sweet and savoury flavours,
  4. Tagine dishes often offer many nutritional benefits,
  5. It’s almost impossible to cook the meat in tagines badly as they are self-basting.

Despite the modern convenience of cooking with tagines, the tagine pot was historically used by nomadic tribes of North Africa as a portable oven, placing the tagine over an open fire to heat. During cooking, steam rises upwards to the conical top of the tagine, condenses, then returns to the base of the pot. The result is that the dish is basted and kept moist and delicious.

There are four main styles of tagines in Morocco. This recipe below is a fusion between ‘Tagine in tomato sauce’ and shakshuka. I threw this together one night at home using leftover ingredients and my partner literally begged me to recreate it! Whilst there are many more fancy tagine recipes, this is my go-to at home because it incorporates ingredients that I typically have in my pantry and makes a delicious hearty meal.

As an extra benefit, sometimes I leave out the lamb and serve instead with a few cracked eggs to make it more like a breakfast shakshouka, with a side of crusty bread. Absolutely delicious!

(On a side note, tagines are typically served with a side of bread, rather than the couscous salad served in Western fusion versions. I actually prefer this Western twist but of course feel free to experiment with a true-to-original version, or serve with plain couscous.)

Equipment Required:

  • 1 tagine. (Please note, ‘tagine’ collectively refers to both the traditional earthenware pot and the dish cooked in the pot.) You can cook in a covered casserole style dish instead if you don’t have a tagine.
  • Chopping board and knife.
  • Frypan & wooden spoon.
  • Teaspoon
  • Peeler
Ingredients Method
350 grams lamb shanks (omit for vegetarian version)

2 onions, diced

2 teaspoons stock powder

Spices:

  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 red capsicums, diced

1 lemon

810 grams or 2 cans of tinned tomatoes

140 grams (or 1 small tub) of tomato paste

1 can of chickpeas

15 dates (prefer medjool but normal Iranian dates are ok to substitute)

1 bunch of fresh coriander, leaves chopped

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Bring a fry pan to medium heat with a little oil and seal/gently brown the lamb. Put lamb into tagine. (Omit this step for vegetarian version.)

Fry onion and stock until onion is translucent.

Add all spices and fry for 1 minute or until

fragrant.

Add in the coconut sugar, garlic, and capsicum, frying until the capsicum has

softened slightly.

Take the lemon and peel taking care not to take the pith with the peel. Quarter the leftover lemon.

Put all ingredients into a tagine. Stir together

thoroughly. Place tagine into the oven and

cook for 50 minutes or until fragrant, bubbling, and lamb is cooked through and tenderly falling apart.

Serve with coriander & bread or couscous salad.

 

Recipe for the quinoa couscous

(serves 4)

In Western countries, ‘couscous’ is normally associated with the grains of semolina. In Moroccan homes, couscous refers to a whole dish made with vegetables and meat cooked in broth, served with couscous grain (known as ‘smida’ in Morocco – typically made from scratch with water and semolina flour).

Traditional homemade couscous is often served plain and is far more tender than the instant version.

Whilst I like the convenience of instant couscous, I often substitute it with quinoa for a high fibre nutritious substitute. One cup of cooked quinoa contains a whopping 5.2g of fibre (almost ⅕ of our RDI) and many important trace minerals.

Of course, feel free to substitute the quinoa in this version for the instant version if you prefer the convenience or taste!

Equipment Required:

  • Cup measure
  • Saucepan & stirring spoon
  • Fine colander or strainer

 

Ingredients Method
2 cups of dry quinoa

4 cups of good quality liquid stock

Rind of 1 lemon, finely diced (or use preserved lemon)

100g slivered almonds

10 dates, chopped

15 green olives

Optional:

125g feta, crumbled

1 handful baby spinach

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water to help remove its bitter flavour.

Add rinsed quinoa to a pot with the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until the middle of the quinoa grain is translucent but not ‘soggy’. Drain thoroughly and fluff with a fork whilst still hot.

Combine cooled quinoa with remaining ingredients.

Pour vinaigrette through salad just before serving with the tagine.

 

Recipe for the vinaigrette

(serves 4)

Okay, this vinaigrette is totally un-moroccan but the flavours just work!

It also happens to be a standalone delicious condiment in its own right, perfect drizzled over any salad.

Equipment Required:

  • Teaspoon
  • ¼ cup measure
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Glass jar & shaker OR small bowl & whisk

 

Ingredients Method
2 tablespoons of coconut sugar

1/4 cup of macadamia or olive oil

Juice of two lemons

1 garlic clove, finely crushed

S&P to taste

Combine all ingredients in a shaker jar and shake to combine well.

Alternatively, you could whisk together in a small bowl.

This dressing will separate upon standing so shake to combine before using.

Shopping List

Deli

15 green olives

F&V

2 onions

1 garlic cloves

3 capsicums

3 lemons

25 medjool dates (can sub for Iranian dates in aisle 6)

1 bunch fresh coriander

1 handful baby spinach

Meat

350g lamb shanks or shoulder

Grocery

Aisle 7

stock powder

ground turmeric

ground cumin

ground ginger

smoked paprika

cinnamon sticks

bay leaves

coconut sugar

2 cups/500g quinoa (can sub for instant couscous in aisle 6)

1L liquid stock

Aisle 6

1 can chickpeas

100g slivered almonds

olive or macadamia oil

810g or 2 cans tinned tomatoes

140g/1 small tub tomato paste

Dairy

1 small packet feta

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