I have had this Tagine that my good friend Jean bought for me for ages and I kept on collecting tagine recipes, magazines, books, and print outs from t’internet to inspire me.
How hard can it be? I think you just throw stuff in the pot, put the lid on, and then chuck it in the oven? or is that really just naïve? Today it has been staring me down just like all those jars and spices on the top shelf waiting for their moment in the limelight.
Finally I pulled it out of the cupboard and picked up my chosen recipe that I found in an old Fine Cooking magazine (Issue 128 from APR/MAY 2014 to be exact) and got my tagine head on
It contains some rather excellent and simple Tagine Recipes in an article by Jeff Koehler. I picked one for a ‘Lamb tagine with cinnamon- scented onions and tomatoes’ mainly because I have tomatoes, onions, lamb, and a big cupboard of spices that need to be used.
I am not going to give everything away, but there is not that much secret to hide. The recipe like most is basically a case of marinading a bit of meat, then tightly layering stuff in a tagine, and then sticking it in the oven. OK bit simplistic, but that is a shout out to how well written Jeff’s article is, because it seemed to be so easy.
Making the Marinade
So the first step was getting all those middle eastern flavours into a marinade; parsley, cilantro (or coriander to some of us), chopped garlic, turmeric, ginger, a bit of cinnamon, a great big glug of olive oil, and of course a good bit of salt and pepper. It all smells pretty good in that bowl and all very easy to get ready.
Next it might be no surprise to find that you mix your chosen meat into that marinade. I was using some thick slices of lamb leg that was quite cheap at the butchers, just a couple of quid a slice. As the picture shows you just need to get as much of that mix on your lamb as you can. A great chance to get all hands on smearing it all over the meat. Do that and leave it for as long as you can to marinade and get all familiar in the bowl. I left mine for an hour or two.
Layering the tagine
Chop up some of that red onion and scatter it in the bottom of your tagine. This first layer was kind of a ‘lets keep the lamb off the base of the dish’ kind of layer. I was thinking to stop it sticking and also to allow a bit of juice to seep under the meat as you start to cook.
Next it was a case of adding a layer of that marinated lamb. The basic instruction for all these layers was to keep it all fitting nice and snug
The next layer was some thick cut beefsteak tomatoes
On top of that a layers of sliced red onions (again keep it snug).
On top of the onions you then sprinkle some sugar, salt and a good amount of ground cinnamon.
All seemed pretty easy!
Lets Cook in the Oven
You then just stick it in the oven for a couple of hours on a pretty low heat and let it do it’s thing. I poured in a little bit of water around the edge just to keep it moist, but to be honest you did not need to do that as the tomato and the onion kid of melt and release all their natural juices into the dish. The steam rises up into the Tagine lid funnel and just keeps on circulating the flavour as it cooks
Cooked up nicely!
After it has had its allotted cooking time which you know should be about 2-3 hours, depending on how long it takes to get that meat tender and falling apart, you can fish a piece out and drop onto the plate together with some of that cooked onion and tomato.
This really is very delicious and so easy. You don’t need to be any kind of expert to make this. You just need to be able to follow a recipe, or just look at the pictures I posted above.
It was so successful that I am going to be adding Jeff’s book to my kitchen collection, so that I can try some more of this Moroccan fare;