"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Recipes–Simple Pork Tagine

Tagine is a Moroccan dish, traditionally made with lamb, almonds, prunes, and honey.  There is a savory version prepared with olives.  I decided that the sweet and salty, savory tastes would go well together; and that pork could be a good substitute for lamb, so this recipe is a combination of the two.  The word ‘tagine’ refers to the ceramic pot used for preparing the dish; but has come to mean the dish itself.

In addition to combining tastes and ingredients, I wanted to simplify the recipe, and decided to forgo the more time-consuming step of browning the meat; and to reduce the number of steps.

The following recipe includes many ingredients, but don’t be put off by the number.  Most of them you should have on your spice rack or refrigerator.  They are all put in the pot at the same time, so other than a few minutes searing the meat, preparation time is very limited.

The result is a complex of tastes.  You will definitely notice the orange, cinnamon, and cloves, but also the pungent taste of the olives, and the richness of the red and white wine.  The dish is slightly sweet but the honey and orange go very well with pork and the other ingredients.

This is a picture of a beef and date tagine which illustrates the versatility of the recipe.  You could easily use lamb or beef and substitute dates for prunes.

Pork Tagine with Prunes, Olives, and Almonds

* 2 lg. bone-in pork chops

* 1 box original couscous

* 5 lg. cloves garlic, chopped

* 1 medium onion, chopped

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil

* 10 pitted prunes

* 1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds (Add a few more for garnish )

* 10 small green Spanish olives

* 1/4 stick whole cinnamon

* 5-8 cloves

* 10-15 whole peppercorns

* 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds

* 1 Tbsp. ground cumin

* 1 Tbsp. honey

* 1/4 orange rind (i.e. the rind off of one-quarter of a medium orange)

* 2 Tbsp. orange juice paste (i.e.the paste to which you add water for juice)

* 1 cup white wine

* 1 cup red wine

* 1 non-salt bouillon cube in 1 cup of water.

* 5 sprigs fresh parsley for garnish

- Sautee the pork chops in the olive oil over high heat, perhaps 5 min. per side to lightly brown

- Reduce heat, add garlic and onion, and stir

- Add all the rest of the ingredients.  Be sure that the pork chops are almost covered with liquid.  If the amounts indicated above are not enough, add more.  Stir well

- Cook over low heat for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  The meat should be falling off the bone tender, and the sauce reduced to a thick mixture.

- Taste and add salt to taste and a few grindings of fresh black pepper

- Prepare the couscous by following simple recipe on the box

- Pour the pork mixture over the couscous.  Add uncooked salted almonds and a few sprigs of parsley, and serve

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