Tagine Berber

See the RecipeChristopher Hirsheimer

We first tried this traditional Berber specialty in a tent at the Auberge Telouet, a restaurant in that Berber outpost in the High Atlas Mountains—and later developed this recipe at home. It is almost identical to the roadside version.

Tagine Berber
We first tried this traditional Berber specialty in a tent at the Auberge Telouet, a restaurant in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Yield: serves 4-8

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, halved crosswise, and quartered
  • 1 large zucchini, halved crosswise and quartered
  • 2 small white turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium green pepper, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1'' strips
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or tagine (a Moroccan cooking vessel) over high heat. Add lamb in batches and brown on all sides, stirring frequently. Set aside. In same pot, heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil over medium-low heat, add onions, cook for 15 minutes, then add cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and saffron and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir, mixing well, and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Return meat to pot and mix well. Form mixture into a mound in center of pot. Arrange potato quarters around meat, pressing angled sides into mound. Arrange carrots and zucchini the same way. Arrange turnip quarters and green pepper strips alternately around mound. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, basting occasionally with liquid from bottom of pot, until vegetables are cooked, about 1¼ hours. Arrange tomatoes atop meat, cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, and serve.