Whichever way you prefer to spell it, Tagine along with couscous, has to be one of the dishes most synonymous with Moroccan cuisine. In Morocco it is mostly spelt tagine.
Couscous is traditionally prepared on Fridays, whilst tagine is eaten pretty much on a daily basis. Tagine refers both to the pottery dish with a conical lid and the stew like dish cooked in most homes. Tagines can be meat, chicken or fish based and sometimes consist of just vegetables. The ingredients are delicately spiced and then slowly simmered to create a delicious dish with aromatic flavours and invariably with gravy that just calls to be mopped up with wads of Moroccan Flat Bread.
There are several different methods to cooking tagines, which vary from region to region. In our area for example the meat is never browned, whilst in this recipe, which I adapted from a recipe for Beef Tagine with Cauliflower from Paula Wolferts book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco it is. According to the book this technique is from the area of Tetouan, in the North close to the Mediterranean coast.
Her original book, first published in 1973, I find to be one of the most informative on Moroccan food. It contains good authentic recipes and excellent information on ingredients and methods of cooking. It is a book I would highly recommend for anyone seriously interested in Moroccan cooking.
Beef Tagine with Chickpeas
1 kg Beef Shin
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Dried Ginger
1 tsp Cumin
½ cup chopped parsley and coriander
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of chickpeas that have been soaked overnight or some tinned ones.
1 cup of water
Heat the oil in a saucepan (with a tight fitting lid) that will fit all the meat in. Add the shin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Brown the meat lightly on all sides. Put the lid on and cook without removing for about 15 minutes.
Add the onion, tomatoes, the rest of the spices, chopped herbs and about ¼ cup of water. Stir and cook with the lid on for about an hour. Check occasionally to ensure there is enough cooking liquid. If it is getting a bit dry, add some more water.
Add the chickpeas and add more water if necessary. Cook for a further hour or so until the meat is very tender.
Serve with rice, couscous or Moroccan flat breads.
Tajine – A glazed-earthenware dish with a conical lid. It is used throughout Northern Africa for preparing and serving a range of dishes that are cooked slowly in a flavoured basting liquid: these preparations themselves are also called tajines and are made with vegetables, such as potatoes and courgettes; fish; chicken with quinces or dates; meat; or even fruit. Mutton with prunes, veal with tomatoes and aubergines are typical -