Tag Archives: tagine

Tagine of spicy meatballs and pomegranate

This is another warming winter Tagine and this time it is beef and little else but also very quick and easy when you have ran out of ideas and you need a hot meal in 30 minutes! Some dishes carry a little dream after them and this one will transport you in whichever exotic oasis you choose to visit…

The pyramid shape is magic  for flavours

The pyramid shape is magic for flavours

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Ingredients list: for 20 meatballs

  • Ground beef, 500g
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes – or 2 fresh ones in season!
  • Passata, 200ml
  • Half a jar of chickpeas
  • Seasoning: harissa, thyme, sage and hot paprika to taste
  • More seasoning: M’rouzia or Ras El Hanout, 1 Tbsp
  • Light olive oil, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to finish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, one handful
  • Pomegranate seeds, a small handful

First mix the ground beef and the seasoning (harissa, thyme and sage or other flavours) and roll small ping-pong ball sized chunks into oiled hands.

Chop the onions, diced up, and fry them in a little oil (1 Tbsp). Do not let the olive oil smoke, keep the heat under control.

Fry the meat balls in the oil for a few seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes, M’rouzia or other Tagine spices, some hot paprika and the passata with a little water if needed.

Add the rinsed chickpeas – and frozen peas as well if you wish!

Only add salt towards the end as the stew will reduce and only very little salt will be needed, if any.

Cover and put on low heat for 30 minutes. If you can, use a pointy Tagine dish as the condensation of flavours is unmatchable by any other method.

Present with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and parsley. I love rich colour in food – it enhances the appetite.

Serve with steamed rice and vegetable or some couscous. Or just big slabs of flat bread to mop up the sauce…

A nomad's tent near Marrakech

A nomad’s tent near Marrakech

This tent is my dream place, and represents the best place ever to taste the sort of Tagines that I am raving about… This photo was taken at dusk, just before dinner was served. You are in an oasis, in the middle of the desert… I can just imagine I am back there as if lifted by a magic carpet and everything suddenly tastes so much better…

 

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Chicken lemon in tagine dish

Tagines make ideal winter dishes

Tagines make ideal winter dishes

As a child, I used to spend most of my Christmas holidays in Morrocco where my maternal grend-parents used to live. So Christmas is not necessarily associated for me with snow or Fir trees but more often with donkey rides in the garden, fish for supper and an exotic, tenderly arranged nativity scene or crèche in the ‘salon’ where my parents and grand-parents would take us to on Christmas morning. Tagines were served to us as a warming winter dish and they are the perfect antidote to cold and dark winter evenings. With warming spices to suffuse the soul and limbs, they  also represent the easy option of a perfect one-pot no-fuss meal.

Chicken lemon in tagine dish – Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients list:

For the marinade:

  • 1 frozen chopped chilli cube or two pea-size drops of Harissa paste
  • 200 ml water
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ras el hanout or M’rouzia mix, 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin 1 Tbsp
  • Ground Coriander 1 tsp
  • Pinch of safran
  • Fresh coriander
  • Fresh parsley

For the stew:

  • Cubed skinless chicken breast with wing bone (2/3 breasts) or oyster thighs -ask a good butcher!
  • 1 large red onion cubed
  • 2 / 3 lemons in brine quartered
  • Zest of half a fresh lemon
  • 2 big handful of garden peas, fresh or frozen

Note that a few quartered potatoes can be included as an option, as in the image above –  I tend to give those a miss if I am trying to recover from excessive festive indulgence… Check the water if you have added potatoes and add if necessary towards the end.

Lay all the meat and put the vegetables in the dish, then mix the marinade in a small jug and pour on top of the dish. Cover and cook on medium to low heat for 45 min. Do not open the dish too often, if ever. Chuck the peas towards the end. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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All the world’s spice under a tent

Tagine of chicken with pomegranate and prunes

For this I advise you to use a proper pointy tagine dish but a heavy pan with lid will do if you can not have the real thing. The pointy shape of the dish does concentrate flavours wonderfully and makes a great centrepiece on the dinner table. Do not forget to soak the unglazed underside of the tagine prior to using it to avoid cracking in the feat. I use a heat diffuseur as well over the hob.

A moroccan tagine

A moroccan tagine

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Ingredients list:

  • Onion,1
  • M’rouzia (or Ras El Hanout), 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock, 1 large glass
  • Passata, 100m
  • salt
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranate syrup, 2 Tbsp
  • Diced chicken, 1 with bones and skin
  • Celery heart,1 diced
  • Carrots, 3 or 4
  • Prunes, one handful
  • Roasted almonds, one handful
  • Parsley and coriander to serve.

Fry the chicken in a pan with a little olive oil and turn each morsel a few times for about 15 minutes. Toss the M’rouzia mix over and roll the chicken in the spices until coated, add some salt, then reserve.

Lay the sliced onion at the bottom of the dish, place the chicken bits over. Cut up the celery heart and the carrots lengthwise and pile on.

Drain the chicken juice from the frying pan into a jug, add the passata, some more spice mix (M’rouzia is a current favourite but Ras el Hanout is good too). Then blend in some pomegranate syrup or grape molasses – in sale from any good middle-eastern grocer.  You should have about 250ml of liquid. Add a bit of water if you need too, then pour it all over the meat and vegetables.

Cover and cook on low heat for 45 min to 1 hour. Add the prunes at the end and give a little more heat for 5 minutes. Check the liquid level: the juice must be thick and reduced but still there to give moisture to the dish.

To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and coriander, a small amount of roasted almonds and 3 tbsp of fresh pomegranate seeds. The mixed fruity and nutty flavours are great against the saltiness of the meat!

You can serve it on it own or with steamed bulgur wheat. I love bulgur and it loves me back: it is impossible to fail and I really like its rough nuttiness better sometime than a silky couscous.

A tagine of seasonal vegetables

IMG_5226One pot dishes are all I want when the weather turns nippy (bit of a euphemism here) and the days are sooo short you feel like putting something to simmer away at half past four!

Tagines are slow cooked dishes, made in the eponymous conical pot: they can be meat or fish based but they can also be wholly vegetable based as in thisrecipe  I brought back from Marrakech. It is the tastiest way of cooking your vegetables; I promise you will not want your potatoes and carrots  any other way after feasting your tastebuds on this… No amount of boiled veggy will now ever do with the sunday roast…

Colours and fragrances

Colours and fragrances

Ingredients list:

  • onion,1
  • tomatoes, 3 grated
  • celery stick, 1
  • carrots, 3
  • fennel, 1
  • sweet potatoes,1 small
  • potatoes, 2
  • cabbage, 1/2
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • sweet paprika
  • cumin
  • grated ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • garlic
  • saffron

For the marinade :  Mix into a bowl 50ml of olive oil, 50ml of sunflower oil, 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika, same of cumin and grated ginger plus salt and pepper. Crush 3 cloves on garlic in the mix and add a pinch of saffron. Cut up a bay leaf and grate the two tomatoes on a flat grater so you just get the flesh and discard the skin once finished. Mix it all well.

First,  soak the flat bottom of the dish in water to avoid cracking on heat. This is a very important step if you want to keep on using the tagine!

Slice the onions finely and lay at the bottom of the dish.

Cut up the carrots, celery and fennel in sticks and put a layer over the onions.

Cut large chunks of the cabbage and then thick slices of the potatoes and arrange them on top. You can use any seasonal vegetables so next summer it might be courgettes, aubergines or anything else you fancy for that layer just before the potatoes.

Slice one fresh or preserved lemon and some black olives on top.

You can also add a handful of pre-cooked chickpeas instead of olives.

Pour the mix over the vegetables arranged in a pyramid shape.

Add a glass of water.

Put the dish directly on low heat (or using a heat diffuser) for about 2 hours – ideally without opening the lid but do if no more steam is coming out!

The vegetables will be melting in your mouth and the flavours are unreal…

Sprinkle with parsley and coriander  before serving in the dish – pipping hot.

Seasonal is the word

Seasonal is the word

Lamb and Prune tagine

Another recipe from the family archive!

Ingredients list:

  • Neck and shoulder of lamb,  2kg – diced
  • Garlic, 4 cloves
  • Onion, 1 chopped
  • Rosemary, a small bouquet
  • Salt and pepper
  • Prunes, a big handfull – stoned and soaked
  • Water to cover
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Ras-el-hanout 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin, 1 Tbsp
  • Fresh ginger, 1 small chunk
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Coriander and parsley to finish

Use a deep pan or cocotte with a lid. A heavy cast iron one is best.

Chop and fry the onion and garlic and then brown the meat in the oil.

Cover the meat with water and bring to a boil. Add the prunes but without the stones. Add the spices, generously. Ras-el-hanout is a typical morroccan spice mix. You can find it in London in the Spice shop in Portobello (see my Addresses page).

Put in the oven at 180 and keep covered for 1 and a half hour to 2 hours.

Before serving, give it a last boil on the stove, garnish with fresh parsley and coriander. I have got plenty of herbs growing in pots on my balcony this year and I am loving this new pursuit…

Who needs a garden?!

The meat must be really tender so it cuts up with a fork, and heady with spices : you serve it with a buttered couscous or a bulgur grain. Tonight, I am using quinoa  for a change! It is a high protein grain and it works well with lots of meaty sauce…

Table set, champagne chilled… Just waiting for our guests to arrive.

Sorry no photo: It was eaten up before I thought of it…