Tagine is a popular dish found in the Northern African region such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya and it is named after the pot where the dish is cooked. This pot serves two purposes in an African household one of which is for cooking and another is for ornamental purposes, it is usually made out of heavy clay and traditionally painted and/or glazed. The tagine cooking vessel is made out of two parts, the base which is shaped like a Chinese wok and a cover which is similar shape to a Red Indian tepee. This unique shape is not just there for aesthetic reason but it helps a lot in making the dish flavourful and meats retain its moisture as it traps any condensation effectively, hence the superheated liquid that evaporates goes back to the bottom of the pan. Traditionally tagine is prepared and cooked really slow at low temperatures making the meat really tender, but with today’s cuisine we can achieve nearly similar result to the traditional one in a quicker manner by the help of heavy cast iron pots, casserole and oven combination.
Knowing this dish is of North African origin it will definitely contain a lot of spices which helps flavour the meat and give it a very fragrant smell, some of the spices and herbs used in cooking this dish are cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and pepper. These spices are used to marinate the meat usually lamb for at least a day so that the meat will absorb all the goodness of the spices. Then it is cooked for a really long time until the meat is so tender it falls off from its bones.
1 kg beef ribs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups dried apricots
1 large red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sized ginger paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp chopped mint
2 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp honey
300ml orange juice
600ml beef stock
3 tbsp flour
1. In a container marinate beef in ginger, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, mint, black pepper, salt (according to your liking) and honey for at least 24 hrs.
2. In a heavy pan, add oil and sauté onions and garlic then add beef.
3. Once beef is evenly browned on all sides remove it from heat and set aside.
4. On a sauce pan add the orange juice, beef stock and flour, mix evenly until free of lumps, heat in low heat until thick.
5. Place beef and liquid on casserole, cover and bake for 2 hrs. on a preheated oven at 160C.
7. Add apricots and mix together then bake for 30 more minutes.
8. Remove from oven then serve with couscous or rice.