Moroccan Goat Tagine with Toasted Nut Couscous

Questions?  Me too. What is a tagine and what is it used for and what’s the origin?

Here’s what we know. The tagine has been around for hundreds of years and is a staple in Moroccan Cuisine. The vessels are both practical and exquisite and are examples of Moroccan artisanship. A clay or ceramic pot meaning “from the earth” it consists of a coned shaped top that acts as a portable oven that requires little water as the ingredients inside marinate themselves. The intention was that when the Nomads traveled the North African country, dishes that needed to be prepared could be done on a moment’s notice with little or no water.

The recipe, or stew as it’s referred to, can consist of a variety of things. Traditionally various spices, meats, nuts, and fruits are added. Spices might include such things as: turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, fresh ginger, cumin, and my favorite Ras-El-Hanout which consists of no less then 72 different spices. Meats can vary from lamb, to chicken, to fish. Dried fruits and various mixtures round out the dish. All this deliciousness is simmered in the tagine for 2 hours cooking in its own succulent juices creating a very traditional Moroccan dish.

This recipe has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time for me. Putting the love and passion into a dish that you’ve never made before is the challenge. Watching the reactions and smiles that cross your guests faces as they enjoy this traditional dish keeps that internal fire burning inside you to continue your journey into the culinary world. You will enjoy both the crunchiness of the pine nuts while your taste buds come alive to all the spicy goodness.

I assembled all the ingredients before starting and added them in order. The tagine did the rest of the work. For a more tender goat I’d suggest you sous vide the goat meat for about 24 hours if possible before cooking. This dish took about an hour and a half and it is one of the finest dishes I’ve ever made. My dinner guests would love for me to make it again. Please enjoy. Remember the lid stays on so no peaking.



Moroccan Goat Tagine with Toasted Nut Couscous


For the Tagine:

  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp Ras-El-Hanout (available at Penzey’s Spice House)
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1lb 6 oz boneless goat meat (large diced) can substitute lamb, chicken or pork
  • 1 white or yellow onion (large diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chili (seeds removed and chopped)
  • 1 ½” ginger root (unpeeled, freshly ground)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 4 ½ oz dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1 medium preserved lemon- skin only- (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (TT)
  • 2 oz pistachios (chopped)
  • 3 Tbs cilantro chopped
  • 3 Tbs fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs fresh mint leaves (chopped)



For the Couscous:

  • 1 oz butter
  • 7 oz couscous-medium size
  • 2 oz pistachios (chopped)
  • 2 oz almonds (toasted)
  • 2 oz pine nuts (toasted)
  • 2 oz dried apricots(chopped)
  • 1 preserved lemon skin only (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tbs fresh mint leaves)
  • 3 Tbs fresh coriander root and leaves chopped)
  • 3 Tbs fresh flatleaf parsley (chopped)
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (TT)

Tagine Method

  • For the tagine, mix together the cumin, turmeric, Ras-El-Hanout, saffron strands and 2 Tbs vegetable oil until well combined. Add the goat meat to the marinade and toss to coat the meat, then marinate overnite in refrigerator.
  • Heat the remaining oil in your tagine (or a large flame proof casserole dish) over medium to high heat. Fry the onion, garlic, chilis, and ginger for 2-3 minutes. Add the marinated goat meat and fry for 2-3 minutes or until browned on both sides.
  • Add your cinnamon stick, can of tomatoes and honey. Mix well. Pour 7floz of water into your tagine and bring to a boil. Add the apricots and preserved lemon and mix well. Reduce the heat to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • Melt your butter until foaming. Add the Couscous and stir fry until golden brown.
  • Add 14 Fl oz of water mix well and remove from heat. Cover the pan to keep the heat in for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and cover for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the nuts, apricots, preserved lemon, herbs and lemon juice until well combined. Season to taste (TT) with salt and pepper.
  • To serve pile the toasted nut couscous onto a bowl or plate and place your tagine on top. Garnish with fresh herbs and pistachios.


Chris Birmingham is a graduate of the Culinary Management program. He currently works as a banquet/catering manager for UWM catering. While at MATC he prepared this dish for chef Robert Barton’s International Cuisine course.  International cuisine is an 8-week course that covers the cuisines of Latin America/Europe, the Mediterranean/Asia and America.  If you are interest in enrolling in the culinary arts program, contact Shannon Grosse at [email protected]   or  414-297-7492.