Morocco: A Cuisine to Fill the Senses
Morrocan food represents a wonderful fusion of both sweet and savory flavors. The aromas and tastes are sure to fill your senses with joy and satisfaction.
Morocco is a country that has seen many travelers over the years, and their cuisine is a great reflection of that fact. The cuisine is known for its use of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and grains. The Arabs introduced the use of rice, saffron, mint, olives. Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and star anise came from the Chinese; dried fruits and nuts from the Mediterranean. With these influences as well as local agriculture and traditional cooking methods, we have dishes with diverse flavors, stunning colors, and a cuisine that is sure to bring your family to the table.
The tagine is one of the most well-known dishes to come out of Morocco. Tagine is the name of the culinary dish, as well as the earthenware that it is cooked in. Traditionally tagines are cooked over warm coals for many hours. The design of the conical lid is intended to trap moisture, which is key to so little water being needed while cooking (essential in the desert). The flavors in the pan circulate and penetrate through the ingredients creating tender meat and an explosion of flavor.
A tagine is a great dish to make at home, and no, you do not need to use the traditional earthenware or build a fire in your backyard. It is easy to adapt to this style of cooking and create a great meal that your whole family will enjoy.
2 lb chicken thighs, bone-in
Oil for cooking
2 shallots, sliced thin
½ bulb fennel, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ - inch ginger, minced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground cumin seed
½ tsp ground coriander seed
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
2 bay leaves
½ cup white wine
2 TBSP honey
1 cup chicken stock or water
10 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
½ cup golden raisins
2 TBSP parsley, chopped
Heat a medium skillet over high heat—season chicken well with salt. Add two to three circles of oil around the outside of the pan; this should be enough oil to coat the base. When the oil is hot and shimmering, place the chicken in the oil skin-side down. Cook on high until the skin has a rich brown color, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the sliced shallots and fennel with a pinch of salt. Saute until the vegetables are tender and the shallot translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaf. Stir well to coat the fennel shallot mixture, which will become very fragrant. After 1 minute, add the wine, scraping up the bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan. When the wine has boiled off, add the honey and the stock. Place the chicken back in the pan along with the olives and raisins, bring the mixture up to a boil then fit with a tight lid. Turn heat to medium-low. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Top with chopped parsley and serve with couscous or rice.
Chef Liza Greifinger
Your Guide to Our Culinary Trip Around the World
Growing up in New York, surrounded by the flavors of the world, Liza developed a love for food and cooking. After a fulfilling career in outdoor education, she decided to explore her passion for food. Liza studied at The French Culinary Institute and then trained with some of the top chefs in New York City before being drawn to the mountains of Colorado. She joined the team at Food Lab, in Boulder, in the spring of 2016. There she teaches cooking skills and technique to all ages as well as curriculum development for the educational programs.