I have been planning to attempt a Moroccan style stew for about 6 months now, since the first time I tasted a heavenly Moroccan Tagine at a local Moroccan restaurant, Pasha Land, in Gaithersburg Maryland, about 30 minutes North of D.C. After trying their vegetable tagine for the first time, I was hooked. The sweet, spicy, hearty, aromatic stew over perfectly fluffed cous cous was to die for. I love the combination of flavors in this tagine, and how the slow cooking method really brings out all of those unique, yet equally important flavor components.
Sadly, I don’t own a tagine, which is a funny shaped clay cooking pot typically used to make this dish. Maybe one day I will be so lucky and bring an authentic hand painted tagine back from my travels, but until I am rich and that day comes, I will stick with a big old stainless steel pot to make this dish. The tagine is also supposed to bake in the oven, but my largest pot isn’t oven safe, so I just cooked it on the stove, and it tasted great!
Even though I didn’t use a tagine, I wanted this dish to taste as authentic, and as much like the restaurant version as possible. In order to find the right spice combination, I scoured the internet looking at quite a few tagine recipes. After piecing ingredients from several of the lists together, I think I really did come up with a flavorful combination, and the result tasted quite similar to the dish I had at the restaurant.
The thing about many traditional cooking methods, Moroccan cuisine included, is that food takes longer to prepare, and often has many more ingredients that we are used to cooking on a regular basis. But please don’t let this scare you out of attempting this traditional Moroccan tagine. I really only spent about 1 1/2 hour total on this dish, from preparation to completion, which came at a surprise to me. It also made such a big pot, that I froze two more portions in the freezer to eat the next time a tagine craving strikes.
Here are all the ingredients. For recipes like this with many ingredients, I find gathering the ingredients before beginning to cook to be most helpful, so I have them handy when I need them and so I don’t forget about anything!
So here’s how I made it, it’s easier than you’d think!
First I sauteed some vegetables and spices. After they became tender, I added in my spice blend in the recipe below and sauteed another few minutes.
Then I roughly chopped the root vegetables, leaving the skins on the potatoes, and peeling the turnip.
And then I added in the liquid and additional ingredients and simmered for about 50 minutes to an hour.
After it simmers, you stir in a few final ingredients, and voila! A delicious tagine is yours to enjoy. Have you ever made this dish? Tell me, what is your secret ingredient to make it taste authentic?
- 2 Shallots
- 3 ribs Celery
- 1 inch Ginger Root
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 3 tbsp Oil
- 2 tbsp Paprika
- 1 ½ tbsp. Cumin
- 1 tbsp. Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Ceyenne Pepper
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 6-8 cups Vegetable stock
- 1 can diced Tomatoes
- 2-3 Sweet Potatoes
- 2-3 Regular Potatoes
- 5-6 Carrots
- 3 Turnips
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 3 tbsp Harissa
- Pinch of Saffron dissolved in water (*see directions below)
- 5 Sun Dried Tomatoes
- ½- 1 cup Dried Fruit (I used raisins and apricots)
- ¼ cup Chopped Parsley
- ¼ cup Chopped Cilantro
- 2 tbsp Chopped Mint
- Mince the garlic, celery, ginger, and shallots. Place the vegetables in the pot with the cinnamon stick, and saute for about 5 minutes until the onions and celery are tender.
- Add in the cumin, cumin seed, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Continue to heat another 3 minutes until spices become fragrant.
- Add in tomatoes, root vegetables, saffron*, salt, pepper, harissa, and sundried tomatoes. Cover the vegetables in vegetable stock, about 6-8 cups.
- Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer for 40-50 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in dried fruit, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in parsley, cilantro, and mint, reserving some for garnish if desired.
- Serve over cous cous, or even eat it as is, as a hearty stew. Enjoy!
- *Place a pinch of saffron (about ½ tsp) in a mug. Add in 2-3 tbsp hot water to dissolve the saffron.