Berbere Moroccan Tagine with Raisins and Olives
This tagine calls for the fancy Argan oil. I hope you can get hold of it. It is largely used in Southern Morocco, hence the name of the Tagine. Sweetness meets sourness, none of them will overpower the other. This Tagine will take you for a trip to South Morocco while sitting in your kitchen.
The build-up to a good Berber tagine.
This tagine is easy to make for a simple reason: we use the same standards spices used in all Moroccan kitchens all over Morocco. As you can see, cumin is not part of it because simple it’s nt present in all our food, neither is Ras El Hanout. Why am I referring to these two? Well because practically most of the blogs or Books writing by a non Moroccan calls for these two when then pretend to cook Moroccan.
Tagine as you may already know is the clay pot we cook in. We call the food cooked in it Tagine. In other words, if it’s not cooked in a Tagine, it ain’t a Tagine.
The best way to cook Tagine is over charcoal/wood fire over a BBQ for more authenticity. Tagine do not like direct heat, it’s a slow cooking concept where the onions tend to caramelise and meat falls of the bone or becomes very tender.
A good Tagine doesn’t need too much liquid since the vegetables used will give it what it needs to cook. But you can kick it with ½ cup of water whenever you see the need.
I find a good Tagine dish is the one where the onions would have caramelised and have a slight burnt flavour and reduced sauce, but my mother likes to find some sauce left to dip it a good piece of Moroccan bread..So which one are you?
For 6 persons
Prep: 10 min/ Cooking: 90 -120 min
- 2 tbsp Argan oil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 large onion – chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 tbsp of curcuma powder
- 1 tsp of saffron threads
- 1 kg tender lamb with bones, best are osso bucco cuts
- A small bunch of parsley (optional)
- Salt and peper to taste
- Handful of green and red olives (not bitter)
- Handful of dry raisins
- 1 preserved lemons – cut into strips (remove all pips)
- Marinate the meat in the spices and garlic except saffron. Keep in the fried overnight or at least couple of hours.
- Infuse the saffron threads in ½ cup of water.
- Heat the vegetable oil and olive oil in a Tagine with heavy bottom.
- Add ½ of the chopped onion. Let cook until transparent.
- Sear the meat with the onions. Put the lid on the Tagine and let the flavours infuse for 15 minutes on a low heat. Stir occasionally.
- Add the saffron with its water, the rest of the onion
- Cover the tagine and let cook on slow heat. Make sure you do not open it frequently because the Tagine relies on that steam that may come out. You might try to check every 30 min and add water when needed, stir to make sure your food is not sticking at the bottom.
- 20 min before the end of the cooking process, add the olives and the raisins (you may soak them if you do not have too much sauce in your Tagine). Decorate with the lemon strips and 1 tbsp of chopped coriander.
- Put the lid back on the Tagine and continue cooking until the lamb is tender enough to cut with a spoon.
- Drizzle Argan oil 5 min before serving so it infuses without being neutralized by the heat!
- Serve with nice bread; I wouldn’t dare saying with couscous because we eat our Tagines with bread and never with Couscous.
- Enjoy your authentic Moroccan meal!