Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moroccan Dinner

We love Moroccan food. The best part about it is that it is easy to prepare at home. A handful of staple spices will allow you to create many delicious meals. I have a few Moroccan recipe books. My favourite is Made in Morocco by Julie le Clerc. It's been a while since I used my tagine, so I thought I'd give it a bash on the wood stove. I've given myself a rule. If the kitchen stove is lit, then I don't use the electric stove. Mmmm... What this has translated to is that I've not cooked a meal on the electric stove for a month now. I've used the wood fire stove for 99% of the meals. The only thing I used the electric oven for was to toast three trays of pita bread crisps as the trays were too big for the oven. Yes, I could have used smaller ones, but I wanted the done all at once.
I decided to do the classic tagine of chicken with lemons and olives. I have learned that my tagine is not huge. It's best for serving no more than four. I've also learned not to add too much liquid to the dish as it bubbles over very quickly!  Here is the recipe from the book.

Tagine of chicken with lemons and olives

3 onions peeled and sliced
4 chicken Marylands (Legs & thighs - cut them apart)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 preserved lemons, quartered and rinsed (you can make your own)
1 cup green or black olives (I used mixed!)
1/4 cup chopped coriander or parsley. (I used coriander as I love it!)

Place the onions at the bottom of the tagine or casserole. Arange the chicken portions on the bed of onions. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with spices. Pour over stock and season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pan and bring the liquid to the boil then turn down and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, turning the chicken pieces once or twice until the chicken is cooked and the liquid is very much reduced. Cooking can also be done in the oven.

Add the preserved lemons, olives and coriander to the sauce 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Here is the tagine layerd up and starting the cooking process. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish. Just believe me when I say it was delicious! 

To accompany the chicken tagine, I made Seven vegetables with cous cous. I used my flat cast iron dish. It's perfect for this type of cooking.

The vegetables I used were:
Sweet potato
Butternut squash
Red onion

I had a small piece of lamb backstrap which I browned first. I wanted to add a little extra depth of flavour to the vegetables. After browning, I simply threw in the chopped veggies. (not too small), added a little chicken stock and the following spices: ground ginger, ras el hanout, a few strands of saffron, salt & black pepper. I popped the lid on the pot and baked the vegetables in the oven once I'd got them steaming on the top of the stove first. To serve I made cous cous. I used 2 cups of cous cous to 4 cups of boiling water with a couple of stock cubes thrown in. (I have to tell you, that this quantity of cous cous is more then you'll need for four people! We've been eating left over cous cous for a week!) Spoon the cous cous into a big serving dish and then add the vegetables to the top of the cous cous.

For dessert I made Baklava. It's strictly not Moroccan but it has that Middle Eastern sweetness that is a perfect foil for the meal above. I've not made it before as it always seemed too fiddly. There is a little cafe' in Colac that sells lovely Lebanese and Turkish desserts and I've bought some from them before. They are delicious, but expensive. I decided that I'd make them myself. I googled (what would we do without it!) a recipe and made a big slab of the stuff. It was easy. Not tooooo fiddly. And oh so sweet! Here is the recipe.

And to finish this blog post I'm going to pop in a few pics that we took at the Spice Market in Istanbul last year. I'd go back there in a heart beat. The smells and colours are just amazing!

Have a good week!


  1. Oh my, that looks delicious and so my style of food. I will definitely save that recipe and give it a go. Though sadly my ceramic tagine cracked and broke in half - mid way through the cooking process - the last time I used it so I will either have to try using something else or invest in a new one. Love the photos too!

  2. Barbara, that would have been a mini dissaster! If you're going to buy a new vessel, you should consider a cast iron pan like the one to the right of the tagine on my stove. I used that for my tagines till I was lucky enough to be given the proper shaped one. These are both Le Cruset. Expensive. But you can get cheaper options that will work the same way. Happy cooking!

  3. Ah, you do have a Rayburn! Hang the biltong off the rail when the stove isn't too much more than lovely and warm to dry it. Or move that rack in front of the stove overnight. I don't have any other stove except a tiny two burner cast iron gas stove top that came out of a 1940s caravan. And a microwave, but I rarely use that. The Rayburn is wonderful, mine was a housewarming pressie from my sister in Tassie. It is 60+ years old, and has four ovens as well as a wetback for hot water. Lovely! The Moroccan dinner and Istanbul pics look wonderful!