On a recent trip to Morocco, and after many delicious tagines, I decided to find out more about Morocco’s national dish by enrolling in a half day cooking course in Essaouira. Essaouira is a charming town situated on the Atlantic coast – about three hours drive away from Marrakech. It’s certainly a lot cooler and has a fantastic array of restaurants to delight foodies – I tucked into a staggeringly good black squid ink risotto at the excellent Elizir and enjoyed the best dressed crab of my life at the Caravan Cafe (which is also worth going to for the atmosphere alone).
But I digress, back to the tagines. The tagines I enjoyed in Morocco were unlike any that I’d tried anywhere else; so I wanted to find out why and how I could recreate a decent tagine at home. What did I learn? Well, quality meat and fresh vegetables are key, as is time (at least two hours on the hob when making a lamb tagine). Nothing happens quickly when making a tagine. But it was so worth it – the lamb meat was incredibly tender and complemented beautifully by the sweetness of the caramelised carrots.
One of the most exciting things about making tagines is the multitude of ingredients that can be used. To inspire – and whet your appetite – check out BBC Good Food’s A-Z of tagine recipes here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/tagine.