Mastering Moroccan Tagine Recipes

Tagine Recipes

If you spend any amount of time in Morocco, then you will become indoctrinated into the cult of tagine enthusiasts. This delightfully simple yet delicious meal seems easy to make, but I soon learned that mastering the art of tagine recipes and Moroccan spicing is not a skill easily acquired.

Tagine derives its name from the type of pot in which it is cooked. A tagine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay and consists of two parts; a base unit which is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking.

Moroccan tagine are slow cooked meats braised at a low temperature. This slow cooking results in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. Like a conventional stew or Dutch oven meal, there aren’t many rules and you can use any meat, spice or vegetable that you prefer. After having sampled a few mouth watering tagines in Marrakech, I knew that I had to learn how to make this scrumptious meal.

Luckily our hotel, Le Meridien N’Fis, offered a very reasonably priced cooking class twice a week with their chef. While the Meridien may lack in certain areas, I soon learned that their cooking class was a shining star for the property.

It was just the two of us for the class, which met in the hotel’s vegetable garden. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the garden wasn’t just for looks, that they actually use some of the vegetables and herbs grown there in the hotel kitchens.

Waiting at an outside kitchen was Chef Jalil, along with several assistants. Actually, not sure why we warranted four people to teach us how to make tagine. I didn’t think I radiated cooking incompetence to that level.

Jalil was great and quickly set us to work preparing two different types of tagine: beef and chicken. Following the chef like lost school children, we gathered a variety of vegetables from the gardens and proceeded to food prep. I quickly learned that watching Top Chef does not mean that I have any knife skills whatsoever. I mutilated anything put before me, but Jalil was patient and smiled the entire time.

Within 30 minutes both tagine had started cooking and we relaxed with an ice cold cocktail the chef somehow managed to whip up without our noticing. Finally, it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labors, for better or for worse.

Luckily, the chef managed to fix any mistakes we had made and the meal was a glorious feast of Moroccan favorites. We began with a very basic Moroccan salad comprised of green peppers, diced tomatoes, garlic and some apple cider vinegar. After this refreshing starter, the first of two huge tagine were placed before us.

The beef was succulent and so flavorful that I couldn’t believe we had helped make it. The vegetables and potatoes accompanying the generous portions of beef were near perfection.  Knowing we had another tagine coming, we paced ourselves and thank goodness we did.

tagine recipes

If I thought the beef was good, the chicken redefined the term. Although we had enjoyed many tagine on our trip, none compared with this masterfully spiced version. I hated to stop eating, but simply could not carry on.

At the end of the meal the Food & Beverage Manager joined us and gave us our very own certificates of completion and told us to take the Moroccan recipes with us to share with friends and family.

And so, true to my word, here are the recipes for both the beef and chicken tagine. You don’t need a proper tagine pot to make them, but it helps. Many Western kitchen supply stores have begun stocking versions that can be used on the stove top, even though charcoal cooking is what is done in Morocco.

Regardless of how you make it, be sure to use these recipes to make a true Moroccan meal for yourself, friends and family.

Tagine Recipes

Tagine Recipes


Moroccan Chicken Tagine

1 whole large chicken, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon coriander
1 bunch fresh, chopped parsley
1 preserved lemon
1 teaspoon white pepper
Pitted olives to taste

Combine the chopped parsley and garlic with a little olive oil to create a rub.

Using a tagine or a deep, heavy bottomed casserole dish, heat the dish and add olive oil. Place chicken in dish and rub garlic/parsley mixture into the chicken.  Sprinkle salt, cumin, pepper, saffron, coriander and white pepper over chicken. Add olives and preserved lemon peel to dish.

Cover and cook over charcoal grill or in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

Moroccan Beef Tagine

2-3 pounds of beef,: roast, stewing beef, etc.
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
Assorted, chopped or julienned vegetables and potatoes (entirely a matter of taste)

Using a tagine or a deep, heavy bottomed casserole dish, heat the dish and add olive oil. Add onions and let simmer for five minutes. Then place beef and vegetables in pot and add in the seasonings, sprinkling each one at a time.

Cover and cook over charcoal grill or in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

6 thoughts on “Mastering Moroccan Tagine Recipes”

  1. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this recipe. I own a tagine pan so would I placed it inside oven or on top of stove to cook these recipes? Thank you!

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