The Original Slow Cooker: Review of 150 Best Tagine Recipes

[Hearty, slurpy, stick-to-your-ribs Lentil and Almond Tagine]

Up until last month, the only tagine I had ever eaten were this one ** or one at a small Middle Eastern restaurant that the HH and I went to in the early days of our relationship. But then I was contacted by the lovely Martine from Robert Rose  publishers, wondering if I’d like to review Pat Crocker’s latest oeuvre, 150 Best Tagine Recipes,  and the amazing world of tagines opened up for me.

If you’ve never heard of tagines, you’re in for a treat.  The word tagine  refers both to the Moroccan clay pot used for slow-cooking a meal or side dish, and also the very meal or side dish that results (don’t you just love the efficiency of those Moroccans?).  The (edible) tagine is a thick, rich, slowly-simmered kind of stew that can contain almost any ingredients you fancy, from meat (um, nope) to poultry (nada) to seafood (nuh-uh) to legumes (getting warmer) and all manner of vegetables (jackpot!). It’s also always deeply spiced with a mixture of aromatic blends with African influences. . . Think of it, as Jamie Oliver does, as “stew with attitude.”

At first, I was a little concerned that (given the traditional tagine ingredients) I wouldn’t find much in the book I could cook. But I was assured that the vegetable chapter would provide me with ample choice.

Turns out that was only partly true.  There are 16 vegetable tagine recipes in the book; however, considering that there are also full chapters devoted to each of poultry, lamb, beef, and fish/seafood, I’m not sure I’d purchase the book if I were simply browsing in a bookstore looking for a new vegan cookbook.  After all, there are so many other wonderful vegan cookbooks on the market right now (in fact, my next book review is going to focus on one of them!). That said, however, the book also contains quite a few recipes for salad and sides, dips and other finger foods as well as beverages and sweets; and it has tons to offer for gluten-free eaters, as tagines are naturally gluten free.

Chapter topics move from a general introduction to a detailed explanation of the concept of tagine cooking, its history and traditional equipment used, to the evolution of the modern (and stovetop) tagine.  Crocker also covers information about traditional spices and seasonings used, common ingredients, and traditional spice blends (for which she includes recipes).

Because I don’t own a traditional tagine, I opted to cook the first recipe I sampled using the stovetop method described in the book (basically cooking the ingredients in a large pot with a lid).  While it worked just fine, I wondered if I were somehow missing out on the true intent of the recipes, as the cooking time for stovetop preparation was under 30 minutes, when true tagine cooking can take hours.  So, for my second attempt, I popped the ingredients into a casserole and baked at a leisurely pace.  The result was spectacular: flavors melded beautifully, spices developed their full potential, chunks of veggies caramelized and exuded natural juices to season the entire stew.

When you make these recipes at home, I’d recommend baking in the oven rather than cooking on the stovetop if you have the time (unless you own a stovetop tagine, of course).

 

And so, on to the recipes!

The first recipe I tried was Lentil and Almond Tagine (see top photo), an aromatic mix of red peppers, lentils, tomatoes and toasted almonds.  Both the HH and I loved the Bahrat Spice blend that was included (recipe from the book) and the hearty mix of toothsome lentils with soft, sweet squash.

Next up was the Eggplant and Lentil Tagine, which I decided to bake in the oven to reproduce more of an authentic tagine effect.  I used store-bought garam masala for this spice mix (one of the suggested options) and while it was delicious, both the HH and I thought the casserole could have used even more spice.

[Subtly spiced Eggplant and Lentil Tagine]

Finally, I tried out a side-dish tagine, which may actually have been my favorite of the three.  As you may know, I already love beets; but this is one dish that anyone can enjoy.  As the headnote to the recipe states: “Slightly sweet, this colorful side dish tagine is often enjoyed by ardent beet haters.”  That’s quite a confident statement, and one with which I’d concur!  The spiced, sweet-and-sour broth is a perfect medium for the delectable roots.  This tagine also offers the surprise tartness of green apples (which, by the time I snapped the picture, had absorbed the vibrant fuschia of the beets).  And it even included some sliced fennel–the only way I’ve ever loved that veggie!

[My favorite, Beet Tagine–it will make a convert of you!]

Want to Try Tagines? Win a Copy for Yourself!

If you’re already a fan of tagines or just curious to give them a try, the kind folks at Robert Rose are offering a free copy to a DDD reader!

How to Enter: Entering the giveaway couldn’t be easier: just leave a comment here telling me whether you’ve ever tried a tagine (and if so, how you liked it) OR what about a tagine appeals to you.

Second and subsequent entries: you can gain extra entries by subscribing to this blog, following DDD on Facebook, following me on twitter, posting about this on your own blog or Facebook page, tweeting about it (be sure to include @rickiheller in the tweet so I see it), or checking out the Pat Crocker page from Robert Rose and telling me which of her other books you think you’d enjoy.

For each additional entry, please be sure to come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so!

The giveaway will run until midnight my time this Wednesday, November 30th.  I’ll announce the winners later in the week.  Open to anyone in North America (with huge apologies to my international readers!).

To get you in the mood, here’s a recipe from the book (which you can enjoy wherever you are).

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

**Thanks to Johanna for reminding me about the olive-quinoa one! Since I can’t eat most of the ingredients in it any more, I must have wiped it from my memory.  ;)

Last Year at this Time: Borscht to Beet Stress (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Two Years Ago: Giant Baked Upside Down Apple Pancake (gluten free; ACD  Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms (gluten-free; not ACD friendly)

Four Years Ago: Mediterranean Tofu Scramble (gluten free; ACD all stages (omit raisins)

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Comments

  1. I believe I have tried tagine at restaurants, but I have never made it at home. I would love to try out some recipes from this book at home!

  2. This is great! Looking forward to checking out the cookbook and it would be even more of a treat to win one! I just got a tagine – its brand spanking new so I’ll break it in with this recipe! Thanks!

  3. I did try a tagine once, many years ago at a Moroccan restaurant in my city. I know I enjoyed it, but the restaurant closed and I never had another since. Spicy, stew-like meals appeal to me a great deal this time of year, so I would love a chance to win this book! Many thanks!

  4. I got a Le Creuset tagine for my birthday in August and I’m always looking for recipe that use it. Would love to win!

  5. By the way, I am now following DDD on Facebook, and have signed up to subscribe via email. However, I keep running into technical problems when trying to confirm, so I’m not sure if my subscription attempt will count as an entry!

  6. Had my first tagine over the weekend. It was amazing!

  7. Oh, I also follow you on Twitter!

  8. I have never had tagine, omg i would love this cookbook! please add me to the contest!

  9. A Moroccan coworker brought an eggplant/roasted red pepper tagine to work for a potluck. Heaven! Since then I’ve been trying to recreate it but can’t quite get it. I will try your trick of baking it. The beet/fennel dish totally appeals to me! Two of my fave foods! I would love to try some of these recipes!

  10. I DO have a tagine and I’d love to check out this book! The beet tagine is very intriguing :)

  11. I follow you on Facebook, of course…

  12. … and twitter!

  13. I follow you on twitter, SU, pinterest, facebook, here… ;) xoxox

  14. Tagine recipes?? Sounds very interesting…count me in.

  15. I have never had a tagine…but stews appeal to me. We love soups and stews. :)

  16. Ricki, I’m pretty sure I made a tagine from this very blog. (Yours!) I can’t recall the exact name, but I know it had olives in it. I’ll have to see if I still have a copy.

  17. I have had a tagine before, but I have never made one myself. I would love to read this book!

    Courtney

  18. I subscribe to you blog :-)

    Courtney

  19. I have never tried a tagine before.. but am always up for new ideas in food!

  20. Ive never tried cooking in a tagine, but one of my favorite local places sometimes features a crazy good vegan tagine special. I’d love to experiment at home.

  21. I actually bought a clay tagine in Morocco for $2 but have yet to use it. I have been scared to cook with it! This definitely makes me drool in anticipation of using it. Glad to hear it was tasty! :)

  22. I already subscribe to your blog

  23. I already follow DDD on facebook. :)

  24. I love tagine! The spices used to create tagines have such incredible depth of flavor. :-)

  25. Love Moroccan tagine; perfect medley of spices and flavors.. Never replicated a tagine at home! It would be fun to win this book!

  26. I think this Eggplant Tagine would be a perfect idea to use up all of these eggplants going crazy in my garden right now! LOL And the beet one just sounds perfect. But your photos are what are even more impressive. Just beautiful. Seriously! ;)

  27. I’ve tried a chickpea based tagine with plums and veggies that was really good. I don’t know why I don’t make them more. The beet tagine looks AWESOME!

  28. I have never tried or cooked a tagine, but would love to learn how!

  29. I’ve never had a tagine, and tho I’m vegan I’d love to win the book to try the veggie ones!

  30. I also “like” DDD on FB of course!

  31. I also subscribe to your fabulous blog!

  32. I would definitely like to have Pat Crocker’s book, The Vegan Cooks Bible, as I eye it each time I go to Barnes & Noble!

  33. Ok, one more, really personally I can’t wait until the day I can afford all 4 of your books, ESP the breakfast one!

  34. No, I’ve never tried tagine. Not even sure what it is! But it sounds good.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  35. I subscribe to your newsletter via e-mail.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  36. I follow you on Twitter as MsCarolsueA
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  37. I’d like to try the Yogurt Bible
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  38. I can barely spell the word t-a-g-i-n-e, have never had one, never SEEN one until your site, and would be interested in “stew with attitude.” I have multiple food allergies, and come to your site to occasionally find something I can make/eat. I eat meat, but you (or your posters) sometimes provide the side dish!

    I’m headed to Wikipedia now to look up “tagine” and the traditional tagine dish.

  39. I am with you on preferring cookbooks that aren’t full of meat recipes so I will pass on the giveaway if it is open to all countries! But I do like the sound of the veg ones!

    However I regret to contradict your first sentence of the post but my only tagine I have blogged is based on your olive tagine which was just so memorable that I am surprised it didn’t get a mention in the post!

    • Johanna, holy moly–you are right!! I’ll have to attribute it to “mental pause,” which has me forgetting all sorts of things these days. Will go back and amend the post! Thanks for the reminder. :D

  40. I haven’t made a tagine yet and my Mother in law just got the thing to make it in! (I think it’s called a tagine too.)

    While I don’t ever cook meat, I read all kinds of cookbooks to get ideas for new recipes and spice combinations.

  41. I’ve never had a tagine but they look incredible! Definitely now on my to-cook list

  42. I follow you on twitter @coniecone

  43. Subscribed via email

  44. Definitely The Vegan Cook’s Bible

  45. I love tagine and received a tagine from Le Creuset as a wedding the gift! The first time I used it, it bubbled over all over the stove! So am looking for new recipes to try. Love your blog!

  46. The only tagine I’ve made is the one in the Refresh (Fresh Restaurants) cookbook. I need to learn to make more! There is really no excuse for not making them more often as I even have a clay pot for baking.

  47. Tagines are sooo yummy! Pick me : )

  48. No I haven’t! What an interesting, and very specific cookbook!

  49. wow.. the tagine looks and sounds so good. i havent tried any! but i love the flavors and the combination of ingredients in it. i def need the book to try some:)

  50. Have never made a tangine but they look so good!

  51. I follow on facebook

  52. I follow on twitter

  53. I subscribe

  54. The vegan cookbook looks great too.

  55. I don’t think I’d ever had a tagine. I’d love to try one, though!

  56. I have never tried tagine but that eggplant and lentil tagine has me itching to try!

  57. I follow you on Facebook.

  58. I follow you on Twitter.

  59. I shared this giveaway on my Facebook blog page.

  60. I shared this giveaway on Twitter.

  61. I have seen recipes using a tagine, but have never used one; and have never tasted any. Our restaurant selection is very limited, mostly fast food type, here in the far north.

  62. Ooo that beet tagine would probably be my favourite too. :) I’ve never tried a tagine but have always loved the dishes they’re traditionally cooked in.

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