I was at a dinner party right around this time of year when the host brought up the topic of tagines: did we all have our fall tagine colors picked out?
This was, by the way, about the time I decided it was time to leave this dinner party. But it does raise a good seasonal question in terms of thinking ahead to what you're looking forward to cooking in the cooler fall months. While tagines, traditional Moroccan meat and vegetable stews prepared in a special pot, are wonderful and warmly satisfying, there's a whole other world of Moroccan dishes that can be fantastic year-round.
Now is the perfect time to liven up the palate with interesting spices and all of those beautiful farmers market tomatoes and carrots at the ready, so don't dusty off those tagines quite yet.
Briefly, tagines are both a clay cone-shaped cooking pot used in many North African kitchens and the name of slow-baked meat and vegetable dishes and stews traditionally found in North African kitchens. But lest you think this is the mainstay of Moroccan cuisine, there are beautiful salads boasting lentils and chickpeas and bright, vibrant spices. There are fragrant carrot soups, salty firm cheeses, oil-cured olives and honey-kissed desserts.
Like all regional cooking, Moroccan cuisine relies on seasonal produce and boasts both tradition and experimentation. So now it's our turn to experiment in the kitchen, without the need to buy any new kitchen gadgets or boast about our new equipment. Instead, let's just prepare some lentils.
Try a Recipe:
• Moroccan Lentil Soup - The New York Times
• Matbucha (Moroccan Tomato Salad) - The Shiksa in the Kitchen
• Moroccan Chickpea and Barley Salad - Simply Recipes
• Moroccan-Spiced Pastitsio with Lamb and Feta - Epicurious
• Almond Pastries in Honey Syrup - Leite's Culinaria
Related: Armchair Traveling: 7 Dishes for a Moroccan Dinner Party
(Image: Tori Avey/ Shiksa in the Kitchen)