Tajine, a native of North African & Morrocan cuisine, is well-known in many parts of Europe and is, dare I say, popular among Europeans for its aromatic flavour and hearty taste. These dishes are often slow-cooked type stews utilising cheap cuts of lamb such as the shank and neck combined with very varied and unexpected ingredients like prunes, olives, preserved lime/lemon, apples, figs, dates, chickpeas, almonds and caramelized onions. Traditionally, tajine is prepared in a special earthenware pot but these days, many people cook tajines in casseroles…which work well too!
Personally, I love tajines because of the different flavours – sweet and salty, spicy and tangy – as well as the fact that it’s meat-based. Yes, I ain’t turning vegetarian any time soon. Anyway, I didn’t exactly plan to cook this dish so instead of simmering it for about over one hour, it took me less than 45 minutes to whip up this dish – including preparation time. As a result, the meat is still a little on the tough side; nevertheless the sweetness of the prunes coupled with the hint of spicy taste made up for its failing in that aspect.
I’m definitely trying out some more tajine recipes – particularly the ones with chickpeas and caramelized onions!!!
400 gms meat (beef/lamb)
200 gms dried prunes
100 gms almonds
1 tomato – roughly diced
2 large onions – dice finely
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp honey
5 bird’s eye chillies – roughly chopped
2 tsp piment/chilli paste
1 meat stock cube
100 ml water
Salt & pepper to taste
- In a pot, melt butter together with the olive oil and saute onions, cinnamon stick and saffron until fragrant. Add in the meat and cook until brown.
- Stir in the bird’s eye chilli, piment/chilli paste and add the water together with the meat stock cube. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes to one hour or until the meat has soften.
- Add in the prunes, almonds, honey and tomato. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes and season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with a side serving of couscous or rice.