Morocco, a land of romance, camels, sand, and history. A past that colors the food of it’s present with flavors hailing from France, Spain and North Africa. Braised dishes are very popular in Moroccan cuisine. They are typically prepared in an earthenware pot called a tajine or tagine which is also the name of the dish when complete. The pot can be found painted or glazed. The domed lid traps the rising moisture and directs it back into the food below.
The tagine is so pretty and fun, it makes me want to create! But, if you don’t have one, don’t fret, you can obtain the same results with any good braising pot or dutch oven.
Make your braise the same way you normally would. You are merely adding some different ingredients and spices to recreate the flavors of this exotic destination.
The pictured dish above was a quick version. Using left over roasted pork shoulder, I put this tempting creation together in a little over an hour. Most of that time was spent in the oven!
To create mine, saute minced onion with julienne sweet pepper and a hot chili. Add bite sized pieces of pork, or other roasted protein, chopped pitted dates, dried apricots, raisins, pine nuts, lemon jest & juice and stock. Now season with salt, pepper and ras al hanout. This is a North African spice blend. The name is Arabic for “the best of the shop”. Each shop has their own blend and guards their recipe jealously. You can anticipate the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, clove, nutmeg, dry ginger, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, mace, alspice, fenugreek, chili pepper and dried turmeric. Depending on where the blend hails from, it might also include ingredients like: ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk’s pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal and/or long pepper. Fun!!
A typical Moroccan tagine is served over cous cous. For a gluten free side, try using quinoa.
Enjoy!! Chef Celinda