If you've bought a tagine for the first time and are wondering what to make in it, or you simply want an introduction to Moroccan main dishes, this list will give you the start you need. All are classic Moroccan recipes that are tried and true favorites, and you'll find them easy to prepare in either traditional clay tagines or conventional cookware.
Remember, clay cookware needs to be seasoned before its first use. And if tagine cooking is new to you, do take time to read How Do You Use... a Tagine? - Tips for Cooking in a Tagine and How to Cook in a Tagine (Step-by-Step Photos).
01 of 10
This dish is one that you'll return to making time and again, and that's exactly what Moroccans themselves do whether cooking a weekday meal for their own families or preparing a larger spread of food to serve to guests. Saffron, ginger and turmeric are key spices, but it's the addition of preserved lemon and olives which transforms the flavors into something marvelously tangy and savory.
02 of 10
Even if you don't normally think to reach for prunes at the grocery store, you'll definitely want to add them to your shopping list so that you can try this fabulous dish. Moroccan cooking features a number of sweet and savory dishes that pair meat with fruit, and this particular combination may arguably be the most popular. Lamb or beef is cooked to buttery tenderness with fragrant Moroccan seasoning, then topped with prunes which have been simmered in a cinnamon and honey syrup.
03 of 10
Here's another sweet and savory combo that is sure to please the palate of even picky eaters. Chicken is slow-cooked until tender with onions, garlic, saffron, ginger and cinnamon, then topped with dried apricots which have been poached in syrup. As with other fruit tagines, this one is quite easy to make.
04 of 10
05 of 10
If you've been hesitant to dig into a tagine the Moroccan way – with a chunk of crusty bread for dipping – this comfort food favorite might just compel you to do so. Well-seasoned meatballs (kefta mkaoura) are cooked in spicy homemade tomato sauce. The photo shows the dish presented with a traditional garnish of poached eggs; it's a finishing touch that I highly recommend.
06 of 10
This easy tagine with chickpeas and carrots never fails to elicit compliments. Picquantly seasoned with a touch of sweetness from cinnamon and honey, you'll find it's the perfect vegetarian entree or side dish. Raisins are an optional addition.
07 of 10
Tomato sauce forms the base for a scrumptious seafood tagine of calamari. Tradition is, of course, to eat communally from the tagine using pieces of Moroccan bread in lieu of a fork, but for this particular dish you may prefer to serve it over a bed of rice or pasta.
08 of 10
Veggie-laden tagines are the Moroccan equivalent of a one-pot meal or stew. In the winter months, peas and artichokes are in season and they are often paired in dishes such as this one. Saffron, ginger and turmeric are key spices. In Morocco, we shell fresh peas and pare our own fresh artichoke bottoms, but you can use frozen veggies instead.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Lamb or beef is hidden under a conical arrangement of seasonal veggies in this impressive everyday Berber-style dish. Be sure to use a clay tagine to add earthy, satisfying flavor to that provided by preserved lemon, olives and generous Moroccan seasoning. A chili pepper is a must-have addition in my home; omit if if you don't want the extra heat.
10 of 10
Humble eggs are elevated to dinner-time status when you cook them with onions, tomatoes and spicy merguez sausage. A dusting of salt, pepper and cumin usually suffices for seasoning, but those who prefer things a bit more fiery will find that harissa works as the perfect condiment.