Tagine is historically a Berber dish. It is a stew made of meats and vegetables and traditionally cooked in a conical pot to allow the steam to rise, condense and drip back down into the stew. Tagines are traditionally prepared on top of a portable clay majmar (much cheaper than a stove!) under which people put coals. Practically anything can be turned into a tagine – meat, chicken, fish, vegetables and some even make it with meat and fruits. Every part of the country has it’s regional tagine dish and different ways to prepare it. Because this meal takes a long time to prepare, the woman of the house starts preparing the lunch tagine as soon as breakfast is over.
Lamb, Prune and Date Tagine (Serves 2-4)
This dish is a traditional Moroccan tagine. Because it is sweet and it includes dates, it’s often served when company is invited.
• ½ kg (1 lb) shoulder of lamb or beef, or one small chicken
• 250 grams (1/2 lb) dried prunes (around 30 prunes)
• 6 dates (pitted)
• 1 large red onion, sliced
• 200 grams (1/2 lb) roasted almonds
• 1 cinnamon stick
• mrozia spice (ras al hanout) if available
• pinch of saffron
• salt & pepper
- Wash the prunes and put them in one litre of water. Let them sit.
- Put olive oil and lamb into a big pot or tagine. Cook on high flame, turning the lamb on all sides.
- Add ginger, cinnamon, onion, ras al hanoot and saffron. Lower the flame to medium. Mix for one minute.il and lamb into a big pot or tagine. Cook on high flame, turning the lamb on all sides.
- Remove prunes from water and put aside. Pour prune water into the pot with lamb. Let the meat cook for 1‐1/2 hours (or until cooked) on a low flame. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add prunes and dates in the last 15 minutes. Add almonds when you serve the dish.
Tagine of Lamb with Quinces (Serves 6-8)
• 1. kg (3 lb) shoulder of lamb
• 250‐grams (1/2 lb) dried apricots (around 30 apricots)
• 100 grams (4 oz) skinless almonds
• 1 onion, chopped• 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• . tsp ground ginger
• . tsp ground cinnamon
• . tsp saffron threads
• 3 quinces (about 1 kg)
- Wash the quinces. Boil them whole for about 30 minutes or until they feel soft. (time will vary depending on the size and ripeness) Drain them, and when cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters. Remove the cores, but don’t peel them.
- In a large skillet, saute the quarters in a little vegetable oil until the cut sides brown. This gives them a nice caramelized flavour.
- Wash apricots and put them in 1 liter (1 qt) of water and let sit for while your brown the lamb.
- Cut lamb into about 6‐8 pieces (or have your butcher do this). Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pot or dutch oven and brown the lamb pieces. Add the salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, olive oil and onion. Mix for 1 minute on medium flame. Leave for 5 minutes.
- Remove the apricots from the water and set aside. Add the water to pot with lamb. Let meat cook for 1‐1/2 hrs. (or until cooked) on low flame. During this time, fry the almonds.
- Add the quince to the meat, skin side down and cook for about 20‐30 minutes until they are soft – but don’t let them fall apart. Remove the meat and quince from the pot and keep warm.