A simple mouth-watering, aromatic dish

  • Serves: 7
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cooking: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Ideal for: mid-week meal; vegans, meat lovers
  • Budget: ££

History of tagines

The tagine is core to Moroccan cuisine and culture for hundreds of years.

It’s a type of North African cookware made of clay or ceramic.

It has a fantastic conical shape which you can both cook and serve from and looks impressive sitting in the middle of your table.

Tagine is also the word for the slow-cooked method of cooking.

It’s a bit like the word, casserole, which means both the dish and the cooking method (I mention this in my recipe for chorizo stew).

The tagines’ origin dates to when Harun al Rashid ruled the Islamic Empire, late 18th century.

However, as usual there is a bit of debate about food history and it’s also thought using ceramics in Moroccan cooking came from Roman influence.

The Romans were big on ceramics and were found during their rule of Roman Africa.

Either way, we can now enjoy amazing recipes from this old method of cooking.

Slow-cooking tagine style

The cone-shaped top is all about moisture.

It traps the steam and water goes back into the pot keeping your slow cooked food deliciously moist and helps tenderise cheaper cuts of meat.

When you think of a tagine you think of spices.

The usual suspects are turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, and cumin. 

And you’ll often find recipes which include dried fruit and nuts, fresh herbs, olives and preserved lemons.

The Berber tagine is recipe which is all about how the vegetables are arranged artistically in a conical style to hide the meat.

The truth is… you can cook anything you like in these stunning dishes.

Using your tagine

It’s pretty simple…. BUT

You do often need to ‘season’ it.

This basically means you need to prepare your pot for cooking so it doesn’t crack/shatter.

Depending on the tagine you buy, the method of seasoning could differ so read the instructions.

I couldn’t wait to use my new tagine and read the instructions twice to make sure I looked after it.

It was a method I hadn’t heard of but I dutifully followed each step.

I had to fill it halfway with milk (which seemed odd but apparently as its porous, milk helps strengthen it).

Anyway, long story short. I seasoned my beautiful red tagine ready for its first cook.

Moroccan lamb tagine.

A lovely slow-cook recipe from Delicious Magazine. Check out the recipe below.

It was (another) big hit in our household.

It’s only 30 minutes of prep and then leave the tagine to work it’s slow-cooking magic.

Three hours later and you’ll have a mouth-watering, aromatic, melt-in-your-mouth dish.

It’s another fantastic recipe to whip up while we lead up to Christmas and are running around shopping for gifts and food.

A picture tells a thousands words…

Tagine ll

After I carefully spent an hour or so seasoning this lovely tagine pot and then made my first recipe…

My (wonderful, most days) step-son Frankie, came home from Uni and while having a few beers in our kitchen…

Managed to drop a copper pot on it and smashed my newly purchased beautifully shaped conical lid.

So, you will now see a blue tagine (kept high on a shelf away from Frankie) in my household alongside a ‘new’ red salad dish.

The ‘youf’!

Still… gotta luv’em xx

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5 from 2 votes

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Course Main Course
Keyword family meals
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Cost ££

Equipment

  • Tagine (or you can use a casserole dish)

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1.5 kg British lamb shoulder, diced into 2 cm cubes
  • 2 x 400 g tinned tomatoes
  • 250 g stoned prunes, roughly chopped
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 400 g chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon
  • handful of parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • handful of coriander, chopped, for garnish
  • 80 g shelled pistachios for garnish
  • 1 pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • Couscous or flatbreads for a side

Instructions

  • IMPT: If you're using a tagine, make sure you add oil into the dish before putting the heat on. You should never pit a tagine on the heat without water or oil in it.
  • Add a large slug of olive oil to your tagine and turn on to a medium heat.
    Then add your sliced onions and cook until softened and getting a little colour (approx 5 mins)
    Next, throw in the garlic and all the spices, stir them all in and fry for approx 2 minutes or so.
  • Now, add your lamb (season with salt and pepper) and cook for 5 minutes while stirring.
    Pour in the tinned tomatoes, stock, prunes and sugar and bring it all to a nice simmer. Then bring the heat down to low.
    Add another 100mls of water, put the tagine lid on and leave to simmer for 3 hours gently
    Every now and then, give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Plus if it's thickening too quickly, just add a little more water.
  • I set an alarm at 2.5 hrs into the cooking so you can add in the chickpeas and lemon juice… and then let cook for the final 30 mins altogether.
    Always take the opportunity to have a taste and season further if it needs it.
  • Garnish with parsley, coriander, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
    And serve with couscous or flatbreads.
    Enjoy!

Notes

TIP:
Freezing: you can freeze for 1 month in a sealed container.
Advanced cooking: If you have a busy weekend ahead, make this a day in advance and keep in a sealed container in your fridge. Then simply reheat and add the garnishes just before serving.
 
 
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