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Cooking with "The food of Morocco" by Paula Wolfert


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#1 seabream

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

It's about time we have a topic for this book on eGullet. Anyone else cooking with it?
Here's what I've made from it so far:

Marrakech tagine bread, page 101
It tasted good, but it puffed up more than it should have, in the oven. We loved the semolina taste, and will be trying this one again.

Grilled red pepper salad, page 89
This dish is fantastic. We ate it with the tagine bread, and we thought it pairs really nicely with bread. A winner.

Although... the amount of salt is way off (2 tsp). I wonder if the mistake is in the amount of salt in the ingredient list, or if she forgot to say to rinse the roasted peppers after being salted, but either way this would have been way too much salt. We reduced on the salt, and still thought it was a bit on the salty side.

Fish tagine with tomatoes, olives, and preserved lemons, page 246
I had high expectations for this dish, but wasn't that impressed. The charmoula does indeed have a wonderful flavor, but we thought it overwhelmed the fish. We love fish and prefer dishes where its subtle flavor comes through.

Today I'm planning to make:
Eggplant zaalouk, page 93
Tomatoes, preserved lemons, and sweet red peppers, page 86
Briwats with goat cheese and honey filling, page 147

Has anyone made any of the dishes I'll be making today? Any advice is welcome. Either way, I'll report back on those three dishes.

#2 seabream

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

OK, here are my impressions on the three new dishes I cooked today:

Eggplant zaalouk, page 93
Our favorite of the three dishes. So good. The only thing I would recommend is to really season to taste (similar to cooking Thai) to balance the flavors. The amounts of seasonings we added ended up very different from the original recipe (tomatoes are out of season and not very sweet right now).

Tomatoes, preserved lemons, and sweet red peppers, page 86
Also good (although not quite as good as the eggplant). The preserved lemons add a nice touch.

Briwats with goat cheese and honey filling, page 147
We made our own warqa from scratch for these, and ended up making them cigar shape like in the photo in the book. Warqa is so time consuming, much more time consuming than I expected! It's also easier to get right than I expected - I thought I would have to throw away the first few sheets until I got the hang of it, but they all came out nice. The goat cheese and honey filling is decadent!
Will we make these again? Not sure we would spend so much time to make them from scratch again, maybe for a special occasion. But the same filling would be wonderful on purchased filo dough.

#3 patrickamory

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

I've made the glazed chicken with apricots and the byssara (creamy fava bean soup).

Also made chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, but did not follow her recipe precisely (my chicken unfortunately did not come with a liver to thicken the sauce).

All delicious...

#4 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:33 AM

I'm repeating myself from another thread, but lamb tagine with dates, chicken with apricots and pine nuts (which I had again tonight), pil-pil, chicken mechoui. My chicken with preserved lemons and olives was fairly close to her recipe. (I would not have used a liver if I'd had it!)

#5 Smithy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

You might reconsider the liver bit. I was surprised to find that it thickened the sauce and improved the texture without shifting the flavor noticeably. When I say "surprised", I mean pleasantly so. :wink:

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#6 seabream

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

And today I made what is my favorite dish from the book so far:

Butternut squash and tomato soup, page 189
Just awesome! I made no changes to the recipe.

I'm looking forward to making some of the dishes mentioned in this thread, so thank you everyone for your comments.

#7 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

Tonight was chicken mechoui, spit roasted.  Chicken mechoui is such a wonderful dish but for me spit roasting anything is a pain so I don't do it very often.  The results are worth it though.  I served it with round bread and red olives.



#8 seabream

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:56 PM

I am planning to make the "Kefta tagine with tomatoes and eggs" (page 402) tomorrow. I am wondering what to serve as a side. Bread? It seems like the dish may have quite a bit of sauce...

Do Moroccans ever eat rice?



#9 patrickamory

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:54 PM

What about using coucous?



#10 Nicolai

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 01:17 PM

I am planning to make the "Kefta tagine with tomatoes and eggs" (page 402) tomorrow. I am wondering what to serve as a side. Bread? It seems like the dish may have quite a bit of sauce...

Do Moroccans ever eat rice?

 

Potatoes.

 

Oven roasted potatoes with garlic - spices and herbs....


muhamara.com

#11 seabream

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

I ended up making couscous with the kefta. I don't know how authentic/traditional it is, but it tasted fantastic together.

 

I also bought some Moroccan khlii and made the stew with lentils, butternut squash and khlii. It was excellent. Khlii is not cheap though...



#12 slkinsey

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

As chance would have it, there is an extensive thread on Moroccan tagine cooking in which Paula herself has been a frequent contributor.  One of the issues with her groundbreaking book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, is that the recipes are adaptations for the kinds of cookware an American home cook might be able to get in 1973.  This, needless to say, did not include real tagines.  Now that we can get real cooking tagines, I hope that that The Food of Morocco includes plenty of recipes that are written to be cooked in a tagine.  If so, I am buying it asap!


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#13 patrickamory

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 08:01 PM

slkinsey - it certainly does!



#14 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:33 AM

Tonight was Lamb Tagine with Baby Spinich, Lemon, and Olives (pp 364-365).  First time I had made it.  Wonderful dish, but more effort than I was expecting.  I sat down to dinner at 2:00 am.  I've prepared enough Moroccan recipes that I should have known by now.

 

I made the dish very close to the printed recipe.  I used a yellow sweet onion rather than a red onion, as that is what I had.  I doubt the substitution made much difference.  Generally (possibly because I am an American) I do not care for pepper cooked a long time, preferring to add freshly ground pepper at the table.  Hence I initially substituted grains of paradise for the white pepper called for.  But I felt guilty and added the white pepper anyhow.

 

For the coarse salt called for I used malha heena, as I've mentioned in the salt thread.  No one else seems interested in malha heena.  But for some reason I find the thought of a quarter billion year old (give or take a few months) haloarchaea spores in my tagine appealing.  And it sure is pretty.

 

For most tagines I use my Le Cruset.  It is larger than my Moroccan unglazed earthenware tagine and I don't have to worry about heat shock.  But this recipe seemed well suited to the earthenware, so that is what I used.

 

From this thread:

http://forums.egulle...-cooking/page-4

 

I inferred that cinnamon was not used with dishes that are based on preserved lemon and olives, yet cinnamon is called for here?  I would love to know more about the basis of classical Moroccan cooking than what Wolfert or any of the English language texts present.

 

Anyhow I ate a lot, washed down with freshly baked roundbread.



#15 patrickamory

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:28 AM

Tonight was Lamb Tagine with Baby Spinich, Lemon, and Olives (pp 364-365).  First time I had made it.  Wonderful dish, but more effort than I was expecting.  I sat down to dinner at 2:00 am.  I've prepared enough Moroccan recipes that I should have known by now.

 

2 AM!  :rolleyes: I too have been caught short by Moroccan recipes, and Wolfert's in general, that appear to be simpler than they actually are.

 

On the cinnamon issue, I gather from a post by Wolfert in the thread that you linked that cassia (or Chinese cinnamon) is used in tagines, while Ceylon cinnamon is used in desserts.

 

(I find cinnamon terminology incredibly confusing. Neither of the types above seem to be the thick, hard, "standard" cinnamon sticks, which come from Indonesia, but rather varieties of the flakier, softer stuff - the Chinese being less soft than the Ceylon. And it seems like the Chinese stuff is technically cassia while the Ceylonese stuff is "true cinnamon". Which leaves what we call cinnamon most regularly, c. burmannii, entirely out of the picture!)

 

(And then there's Saigon cinnamon, which is another thing again.)



#16 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:55 PM

Tonight was Lamb Tagine with Baby Spinich, Lemon, and Olives (pp 364-365).  First time I had made it.  Wonderful dish, but more effort than I was expecting.  I sat down to dinner at 2:00 am.  I've prepared enough Moroccan recipes that I should have known by now.

 

2 AM!  :rolleyes: I too have been caught short by Moroccan recipes, and Wolfert's in general, that appear to be simpler than they actually are.

 

On the cinnamon issue, I gather from a post by Wolfert in the thread that you linked that cassia (or Chinese cinnamon) is used in tagines, while Ceylon cinnamon is used in desserts.

 

(I find cinnamon terminology incredibly confusing. Neither of the types above seem to be the thick, hard, "standard" cinnamon sticks, which come from Indonesia, but rather varieties of the flakier, softer stuff - the Chinese being less soft than the Ceylon. And it seems like the Chinese stuff is technically cassia while the Ceylonese stuff is "true cinnamon". Which leaves what we call cinnamon most regularly, c. burmannii, entirely out of the picture!)

 

(And then there's Saigon cinnamon, which is another thing again.)

 

The Lamb Tagine with Baby Spinich, Lemon, and Olives calls for Ceylon cinnamon, which I believe is what I used.  The brand of cinnamon I have is Mediterranean Gourmet, which is not listed as a product on their website.  In any event the unground version looks like Ceylon.  It is good stuff though, a mild sweet cinnamon.

 

In the book Wolfert says she uses Cassia in bark form in certain dishes.  Otherwise she seems to use Ceylon.  Of course it would be wonderful if she would jump in here and correct us.



#17 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 11:51 PM

I am revisiting Lamb Tagine with Medjul Dates (p387).  This is one of the typical Wolfert recipes that takes six times as long as one would expect.  I've made this recipe a few times and it is wonderful.

 

This time I precooked the lamb twenty hours at 58 deg C with my new Anova, and held the lamb in a 150 deg F oven while making the other preparations.  Instead of adding the minced onion in two batches, as called for, I added all the onion at one shot with the argan oil since the meat was precooked and very tender.

 

I reduced and filtered the sous vide juices to the specifed one cup, but next time I think I would dump the juices down the sink and just add one cup of water.  This was the messiest step of the process.

 

I braised the tagine for a couple hours and then browned with cinnamon and the Medjul dates in a 400 deg F oven as specified.

 

The results were tender and delicious, though it still took about six times as long as I expected.



#18 FlyingChopstik

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 03:51 PM

Lamb tagine with prunes and appples ---melt in your mouth tender prunes. The apples came out more crisp than expected.

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#19 FlyingChopstik

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 03:55 PM

Chicken tagine with apricots
Lamb tagine with prunes, fried almonds, and tagine bread

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Edited by FlyingChopstik, 11 October 2014 - 03:58 PM.

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#20 FlyingChopstik

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 01:48 PM

Seafood, spinach and noodle bastilla that i cooked yesterday. I posted about my experience making the bastilla in the bastilla thread.

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