You don’t have to fly to Morocco or North Africa to experience the warm and melt in your mouth flavors of Middle Eastern food.
If you are a ‘foodie’ with a craving for delicious Middle Eastern Tagines, or the savory yet subtly sweet taste of Morroco, a tagine is a kitchen must-have. These earthenware pots are used to prepare food without removing moisture. The design and science behind these often beautiful pots allow the meat to become succulent and tender without losing flavor.
Tradition meets modern times
Traditionally speaking, tagines are made of clay; in more recent times, chefs have opted for more durable cast iron (much like the one found at https://unocasa.com/products/tagine-pot). This change has ensured that these show stopper pots accessible across the globe.
The bespoke conical lid design has not changed, allowing for moisture to recirculate into the food. The most significant difference between traditional and modern tagines is the material used. Traditionally crafted from clay, modern tagines are produced with more durable cast-iron and enamel. Modern tagines add a polished aesthetic to the traditionally handcrafted pots.
At home tagine recipes to try
Here are 3 great tagine recipes for your next dinner party. These are not only foolproof but tasty and will no doubt be a hit no matter what.
1. Moroccan Chicken Tagine with cranberries
You can serve this traditional Moroccan classic with zesty couscous. The authentic ethnic flavors are comforting and welcoming no matter the season.
1 whole chopped onion
1 cup of water
2-3 minced garlic cloves
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup frozen baby peas
3 diced carrots
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of coriander chopped
A handful of dried cranberries
1tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
3Lb chicken cut into pieces
1LB potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds, put in water to prevent browning.
In the bottom of your tagine pot, arrange the onions, carrots, tomatoes, and minced garlic. Use a large bowl to mix the chicken pieces with the spices and harissa paste; rub it to ensure that the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the tagine with chicken pieces, sprinkle over the coriander, cranberries, and olive oil. Pour in 1 cup of water.
Place the tagine lid on firmly, and cook over medium heat for 1 hour. The chicken should be tender. If the water runs over, remove some with a spoon or a turkey baster. Drain the potatoes. Arrange them on top of the tagine to form a circular shape. Replace the tagine lid and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, do not mix the potatoes into the tagine. Add the peas. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with freshly chopped coriander over a bed of couscous or rice.
2. Butternut, cranberry, and red onion
This vegetable tagine is a definite winter warmer. Made with hearty winter vegetables and subtle Arabic flavors, you won’t need a passport to travel to exotic lands.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 thickly sliced red onions
3 cm finger ginger, fresh and grated
1lb 2oz peeled butternut squash, cut into large chunks
1 tsp cinnamon powder, or large stick
1 tsp of each, coriander and cumin powder
1 tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp agave nectar/honey
700g tomato passata
50g dried cranberries
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp flaked and toasted almonds
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add onions, and fry until they change color. Add ginger and spices, stirring in the agave/honey. Add in the butternut and stir until all combined. Fold in passata and cranberries, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover with the tagine lid, and simmer for 20 min. The butternut should be tender. After 10 minutes, add in the chickpeas. If needed, add a splash of vegetable stock.
In a heatproof dish, fold together couscous, stock granules, and lemon zest, pour 300ml of boiling water over the mixture. Stir briefly and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes, pour in lemon juice and almonds, coat with 1 tbsp oil, fluffing with a fork. Scatter the cilantro leaves over the tagine. Serve with the couscous.
3. Tunisian tajine maadnous
This recipe is a little different from the traditional stews of Morroco. Tunisian tajines are often egg-based, and they are filled with a variety of meats and veggies.
1 chopped green pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
8 large eggs
1 deboned, skinless chicken breast, diced or cut into strips
2 large potatoes, diced into 1cm pieces
2 minced garlic cloves
1 small bunch of chopped parsley
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, Tumeric, and cumin
1 tsp paprika
Optional: Cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp sea salt
Fry the potato cubes in a little bit of oil until golden. Add the chicken to the tajine pot with spices, garlic, and onions. Set this aside once both the potatoes and chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Combine the eggs and salt in a bowl. Pour over the chicken and potatoes in the tajine, add in the chopped peppers. Cover with the tajine lid and bake in an oven at 392F for 30 minutes. The egg should be completely cooked. Remove and cut into squares while in the pot. Allow to cool down slightly before serving.
Serve with a salad, crusty bread, or for breakfast.
Whether you love beef, lamb, or chicken, there is a Moroccan tagine made for you. You can substitute sweeteners like honey or cranberries for other fruits such as preserved lemon, dried apricots, dried figs, raisins, and sultanas. Add your unique spin and experiment with ethnic additions, like saffron rice.