245 – Beef Zucchini Tagine / طاجن الكوسة واللحم
- 1 pound / 1/2 kilogram lamb or beef meat
- large onions (grated or finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- A pinch saffron threads (optional)
- Small bouquet of parsley
- 4 zucchini
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
Preparing the Ingredients
1- The first step is to prepare the zucchini. All you have to do is cut both tips, the bottom tip and top one. I am using small zucchinis, so I am just slicing them in the middle (lengthwise). If you are using bigger zucchini, you can quarter them.
2- NOTE: Super important tip for this tagine. When we add water to the meat, just add a little bit at a time to cook the meat. Keep adding water as necessary. You don’t want to have too much water in the pot because when you add the zucchini, it will release more water, then the tagine will be like a soup!!! so just add water a little bit at a time.
Directions for Cooking the Meat
1- On medium heat, drizzle the vegetable and olive oil in your pan.
2- Add the spices to the oil and heat them up a little bit, so all the flavors of the spices are released. Add salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, and saffron threads (optional). Let the spices infuse in the oil for around 30 seconds.
3- Add the onion (grated) and the garlic cloves (crushed).
4- Finally, add the meat. I am using beef but you can also use lamb. Mix all the ingredients. Cover you pot and let the meat cook for around 10 minutes. From time to time stir the meat so it browns from all sides.
5- After around 10 minutes, the meat has brown and it starts to smell amazing! Add a little bit of water to cook the meat (around 1/2 cup). Do not add too much water, just enough for the meat to cook, and keep checking on the meat and adding water as necessary until the meat is almost done.
6- Add a small bouquet of parsley to add a wonderful flavor to this dish. Cover your pot and cook on medium high and check on the meat from time to time.
7- After 10 minutes, the sauce becomes thicker. Add another 1/2 cup of water, cover, and continue cooking. Keep checking every 10 minutes or so.
Adding the Zucchini to the Meat
1- After 50 minutes, the meat is almost ready. To check, try to cut a piece of meat, it’s soft enough but still needs around 10-15 minutes to become perfectly soft. Remove the parsley bouquet from the pot and discard.
2- It’s time to add the zucchini to the meat! Place the zucchini on top of the meat. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes.
3- After 5 minutes, you could see that the zucchini is sweating (it has water coming out from the peel). Gently push down the zucchini to the bottom of the pot, to mix it with the sauce. Cover and continue cooking.
4- After another 10 minutes (it’s been 15 minutes total) of cooking the zucchini, you will notice that it’s getting softer. Make sure not to overcook the zucchini, otherwise, it will become mushy! Add a little bit of water if you need ot (you should have around 1 cup of thick sauce in the pot).
5- Now, we are going to add the magic ingredient: dried thyme!!! It gives an amazing taste to this tagine. Crush the dried thyme between your finger and sprinkle it over the meat and zucchini. Do not use too much as thyme has a strong flavor.
6- It will take around 15-20 minutes total to cook the zucchini. It should be soft but still holding its shape. The sauce should be thick and caramelized. If you like more sauce then add more water (in the previous steps). A thick sauce is more concentrated in flavors and is super tasty with bread!
Serving the tagine
1- To serve the tagine, you first take the meat and place it on the plate. The add the zucchini on top.
2- Finally, pour the sauce over the meat and on the sides of the dish. Serve the tagine hot with either French bread or Moroccan bread (check out my video on how to make it).