One day while searching for new flavors to liven my dull spice cabinet I happened to stumble across a seasoning blend I had never heard of. It was called Tagine. I immediately added it to my cart without hesitating, knowing the wonderful exotic flavors would add excitement to any dish. The blend made by Frontier contains paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, crushed red chili pepper, black pepper, and cardamom. I couldn't wait to try this mixture and when it arrived in the mail I opened the jar right away to inhale the amazing aroma. It was like being in my grandmothers kitchen if my grandmother happened to live in some far off land. I wanted to learn more about this tagine spice and where it came from.
The Tagine is actually a special pot originating from Morocco. It was originally a heavy, unglazed clay pot with a round, shallow-sided base and a conical lid with a knob on the top that acts as a handle. The shape is very beautiful, but it is functional as well as aesthetic, being designed to send the steam from the cooking food back down into the base to keep the dish moist.
Basically, a tagine is a sort of stew. It incorporates ingredients that do well with slow braising at low temperatures, such as lamb. Depending on the origin of the tagine, the spicing of the dish varies widely, and is possible to find them with vegetables, beans, and various grains in addition to meat stews. After several hours of cooking, the ingredients are extremely tender and very intensely flavored, and diners can ladle the tagine over rice or scoop it out of the dish with hunks of bread
Although these meatballs are not cooked in a traditional tagine, they are seasoned with spices that would traditionally be added to a tagine type dish. I hope to cook in a tagine someday to understand exactly how it works and taste the wonderful flavors, or better yet visit Morocco and learn from the experts!
It's Always Tagine O'Clock In Morocco
These Moroccan Meatballs would be a great addition to any type of sauce. Today, I happened to make a basic tomato sauce, although I could just imagine these soaking up the juices of a curry based sauce like Tikki Masala.
Lamb and pork together were a nice combination for the perfect flavor and texture. I often make meatballs out of only lamb but some people feel the lamb is overpowering. Since the tagine spice has a lot of flavor already, too much flavor from the meat might be a little intense.
Instead of breadcrumbs I use oats, making the meatballs healthier and gluten free!
These days I love using spaghetti squash instead of pasta for a healthy grain free meal. I cut a spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, place about a 1/2 cup of water in a baking dish, place spaghetti squash face down and bake @ 350 for about an hour. Once you can peel back squash into "spaghetti" like strings and they are tender but not mushy then its done.
- 1 Lb Ground Lamb
- 1 Lb Ground Pork (beef would work too)
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Almond Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tbl Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
- 1 Tbl Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbl Dried Cilantro
- 1-2 Teaspoons Tagine Seasoning (or a blend of paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, red chili pepper, black pepper, cardamom)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients together. Roll meat into 12-15 balls and place on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Add to sauce and continue to simmer until ready to serve.
- 1 28oz Can Crushed/Pureed Tomatoes
- 1 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
- 1 Onion
- 1 Orange Pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic
- Salt, Pepper, 1 Tbl Oregano, 1 Tbl Parsley, 1 Tbl Basil
- Olive Oil
Saute onion, garlic, and pepper in 2 Tbl olive oil until tender, 5-10 minutes. Add all canned tomatoes and spices. Simmer while the meatballs are cooking. Then continue to simmer with the meatballs until ready to serve.