Named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked, the tagine is a tasty North African dish that lovers of stews will really appreciate. It’s easy to make, but probably one of the most important things to include is a proper earthenware tagine – it ensures that any extra liquids evaporate, leaving the tasty meat, vegetables and spices behind. Just make sure it doesn’t dry out! With a good tagine and good quality ingredients, you can’t go wrong.
Here’s a recipe for a delicious, authentic Moroccan chicken and lemon confit tagine.
Joint a chicken and marinade in lemon juice for 15 minutes. Put it in the bottom of a tagine with finely chopped onion, garlic and chopped coriander. Add a small cup of olive oil and a teaspoon each of black pepper, ginger, paprika and turmeric plus half a preserved lemon, sliced finely. Add water (about a cup). Cook over charcoal or a very low gas for about 2 hours, adding more liquid if needed. Add salt to taste after cooking only, as preserved lemon is salted.
I like to add fresh tomatoes to the mix before I start cooking, and you can also add dried apricots, olives or raisins if you want some extra substance and interesting flavours. Personally I like to use stock instead of water, giving the tagine a richer taste than if one uses water. Serve with some cous cous, and you’ve got the makings of a great meal.