150 Best Tagine Recipes - Great One Pot Meals For Moms

by Kate on November 14, 2020

I’m slowly discovering how much I like North African cuisine. It’s really no surprise, seeing as I’m from New Orleans and there is a huge African influence on cooking there. I don’t know if it’s specifically North African, but the melange of spices, the slow cooking - it’s all in there.

Plus, I tasted a few lovely couscous dishes while in France. I had no idea that couscous could be such a comfort food, but beautiful and exotic at the same time. And tagines! For me, a tagine is like an exotic stew, an African gumbo. So when Pat Crocker asked if I’d like to review her new cookbook, 150 Best Tagine Recipes, I jumped at the chance. Me…cooking my own tagine!

So, first off, the cookbook is packed with all sorts of information on those conical tagine pots and why it is so important to cook with them. I, myself, don’t have a tagine pot so I used a regular pot the stovetop. Well, I’ll let you read why I’m now searching for my own tagine. I rather like this one from Williams-Sonoma, but it’s a tad frilly for me:

There is a whole section, complete with illustrations, on herbs and spices. Fascinating! Did you know that caraway (you know, the seed in rye bread) has long been used to comfort babies with gas? This part is gorgeous, it reminds me of my mother - her painting and her cooking - and it’s worth a good read if you want to know all about spices.

And talking about spices, the section on flavor combinations is all about making your own spices in order to flavor the recipes. At this point, I sort of got overwhelmed. I mean, I love cooking. I really do. But I can hardly find enough time to make a homemade meal for my family, much less tinkering with measuring out herbs and spices before even beginning to cook. So I bought Ras el Hanout spice at the store instead of making it.

Ras el Hanout, an amazing blend of sometimes over 100 different spices, herbs and aphrodisiacs is known as the “top of the shop” or the best the spice merchant has to offer. You can see why I left the making of this up to the specialists and bought it. Especially when called to use my mortar and pestle. (I don’t even have a mortal and pestle!)

Now for the tagine…I made Lamb Tagine with Mediterranean Vegetables. The recipe is actually pretty basic and all you need to really pay attention to is the order and the timing of adding ingredients. I boldly thought I knew better than Pat and added my chickpeas too early.

Long story short, I made a fantastic gruel. It looked horrible on my plate. In fact, I was going to take a picture but just imagine beige colored slop, with dashes of green and orange and that’s about it. But damn if it didn’t taste delicious!

See, I thought chickpeas needed a big boil and long, long simmer to be soft and creamy. THEY MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT. They fall apart to mush when overcooked.

Plus, not having a serving dish/lovely tagine to adorn the table, my stuff looked blah. I think, if I would have stayed true to the timing and order of the recipe, I could have avoided the mush. Moral of the story, trust Pat. She knows of what she speaks.

I would highly recommend this cookbook for anyone out there who wants to have a different flavor for dinner. Tagines are surprisingly easy and they make a great one pot meal that most, though perhaps not all, the family can enjoy.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny L November 14, 2020 at 1:08 am

Hate to put to much salt on your excitement, but a recipe book that has to be followed to the T or else you get bad results, aint for me or any other human mom who cant exactly stand with a stop watch over her pots.

Adventures In Babywearing November 14, 2020 at 6:35 am

Oh, I think it sounds delicious and is just something you don’t hear about enough. When I was in New Orleans earlier this year I have to say my favorite thing was the food, btw!! :)

Steph

Julie C. November 14, 2020 at 10:51 am

So tagine is basically an African lamb stew? Can I do it in a crockpot?

Sounds yummy. Love chickpeas! :)

Kate November 15, 2020 at 3:22 pm

@Julie C a tagine is both the actual pot you cook it in and what is inside the pot. Kinda confusing. I made the lamb stew, but really it can be anything stew-like made with African spices in that pot. Chickpeas rule!

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