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"How to Make a Moroccan Tagine" by Jaycee Miller

"How to Make a Moroccan Tagine" by Jaycee Miller

One of the most iconic dishes from the Maghreb region, besides perhaps couscous, is the Tagine. It’s the name of both the style of cooking and the clay pot in which it is traditionally cooked, and it’s delicious. Bread is the eating utensil of choice with a tagine. There are several classic ways to prepare it, with chicken, lemon and olives, or with small ground beef meatballs and peas, but my personal favorite is a tagine made with beef and sweet caramelized fruit, like prunes, pineapples, and apricots. Three weeks before the end of my time in Morocco, I asked my host mom to show me how to make my favorite dish that she makes, tajine aux pruneaux, meaning sweet tagine with prunes.

 

Tajine aux Pruneaux:

Serves 3-4. Serve hot with toasted bread.  

Ingredients

1 tbs cumin

1 tbs black pepper

1/2 tbs red pepper

1 tbs ground coriander

3 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 tbs salt

1 tbs "mrouzia"

1/4 tbs cinnamon

½ tbs saffron

12 ounces of beef, cubed into about six pieces

10-14 large prunes

1 red cooking onion

1 ounce of both fresh parsley and coriander

4 ounces salted butter

2 cups almonds

1/2 cinnamon stick

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 tbs white sugar

3 tbs sesame seeds

 

Add 1 tbs saffron to a cup of water. Set of to the side.

Start by mixing in a large shallow bowl:

1 tbs cumin

1 tbs black pepper

1/2 tbs red pepper

1 tbs ground coriander

3 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 tbs salt

1 tbs "mrouzia"

1/4 tbs cinnamon

Add 3-5 tbs of saffron-water to the spices and mix.

Once mixed well, add beef, coating thoroughly with spice marinade. Allow to marinade for 1-2 hours.

Rinse prunes, almonds, and ⅔ of the apricots separately, covering with a bit of water once finished. Set aside.

Chop parsley and fresh coriander finely, dice onion medium-fine. After meat has marinaded, add chopped parsley and coriander, combine. In a large pressure cooker, Moroccan tagine, or crockpot, add onions and meat/herbs/spices mix. Add butter and ½ cup water. Put over medium heat uncovered and mix. Let simmer over low heat, adding the rest of the saffron water. Continue to mix until even. Once most of the water evaporates, cover for 30 minutes.

Add almonds to already boiling water for one minute. Remove from heat and strain. Peel skin from almonds and dry them with a clean cloth. Once dry, add oil to pan, and add almonds to oil before it becomes hot. Let the almonds crisp until golden, removing with a sifter and place them onto a paper towel covered plate.

Caramelize the prunes and the apricots by putting them over medium heat in saucepans, adding 2 tablespoons of sugar to each. Once caramelized, removed from heat.

Optional: Once removed from heat, cover half of the prunes with a layer of sesame seeds for decoration.

After 30 minutes of cooking, remove tajine from heat and ladle the meat onto large plate evenly, making sure the sauce is evenly distributed. Garnish with apricots, prunes, and almonds. Serve with warm Moroccan bread.

"Athletes in Amman: Staying in Shape in a Foreign Place" by Michaela Arguin

"Athletes in Amman: Staying in Shape in a Foreign Place" by Michaela Arguin

Moroccan Food Trivia by Lane Fisher

Moroccan Food Trivia by Lane Fisher