My son gave me a beautiful tagine on Mother’s Day and I finally got around to using it this weekend. But, first, according to directions, it needed to be treated … a 24-hour soaking in water, then a massage with olive oil and, lastly, a 1-1/2 hour dry treatment in the oven. By the time I was done, I was ready to book a spa treatment for myself.
So after 2 days of preparation, the tagine was ready and, in typical FOODalogue fashion, I decided to create a dinner party around its inauguration.
Welcome to the Casbah!
The most fun part of a dinner party is setting the table. I generally use white plates but for this occasion, I decided to go with colors and scavage-hunted around in my closets and came up with some mix-matched chargers and as many colorful touches as I could find.
NOTE: I’ve made Moroccan food several times over the years, but it’s not something I do regularly so I relied on info/inspiration from internet sources — flavor profiles, techniques, wine pairings (see links below). These links were the jumping off points I used and I include them here with some sidebar notes.
Merguez Meatballs I used beef and thought they were a little dry and dense. Could have benefited from some fat in the mix (like egg or yogurt). Because of this dryness I decided to serve them in the sauce instead of on the side. Also, I added a little honey to yogurt sauce for balance and it was very good.
Lamb Tagine I used a boneless leg and butchered it myself. I browned and started stove top before transferring to the tagine. Did not add the honey called for as I felt 2 cups of prunes would make it sweet enough. I was right. Otherwise, it’s a really good recipe.
Moroccan Spiced Roasted Carrots + Sweet Potatoes was a really nice contrast of flavors with the garlic, lemon and olives. Would definitely do again.
Yogurt Cake The peppery roasted grapes and walnut topping was my idea. Would definitely do again.
Anything else was me just winging it in the kitchen. And, I added a few last minute items like the cashews and toasted flatbread slices in the photos.