I learned about tagines when I visited Marrakech, Morocco. Tagine cookware is made from ceramic or clay. It has a wide, round, shallow cooking base and then is topped with a conical top. The term tagine also signifies the stews made in the cookware. When in North Africa, my daughter and I took a cooking class that made a stew that typically can simmer for hours in the tagines.
The stew recipe included prunes and almonds. Although prunes contain oxalates, which when become too concentrated can cause health problems, prunes, eaten in moderation, are a good source of bone-building vitamin K, fiber, and potassium. Prunes apparently increase absorption of iron into the body and can feed friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Almonds are a source of energy, they are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals.
Delicious recipe for Tagine with beef, prunes and almonds:
1 ½ pounds of beef or lamb
2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 T. fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 t. salt
1 large onion, chopped
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground pepper
1 t. colorant
½ t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground paprika
2 T. sesame seeds
1 T Olive oil
1/3 pound almonds, blanched and fried
For the prunes:
1/3 pound dried prunes
3 T sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. orange flower water
Cut the meat into pieces. Place onion, olive oil, spices, salt, parsley and coriander in the tagine and place on the stove. Add meant. Simmer and check if there is enough liquid, so that the meat does not burn. If need, add water. Simmer until the meat is well cooked.
Place prunes in a pan and cover with water. After 45 minutes add sugar and ground cinnamon. After 15 minutes add orange flower water and cook for 5 minutes. Arrange the meat decoratively in the tagine. Place prunes, almonds and sesame seeds on top before serving.
Although there were thousands of tagines to buy in the open air markets in Marrakech, I didn’t buy one to bring home. So, when I make this recipe I use my cast iron pot. It’s a winner.