Casablanca, Morocco: Tagine Dreams

After nearly 30 hours of travel, I was definitely in a dream-like state! A 3-hour layover in New York turned into a 10-hour layover, due to a delayed Royal Air Maroc flight. When I finally got to my hotel, the faded grande dame Royal Mansour (Note to self: avoid Moroccan businesses with “royal” in the name), I was ready for an easy, basic meal. I found L’Etoile Centrale, a modest restaurant tucked away in a street that borders the food market. The walls were decorated with tile and plaster work…

L'Etoile Centrale's classic Moroccan decor

I ordered a Moroccan classic, chicken tagine with preserved lemon, olives and onion. The waiter brought bread, along with black olives and harissa, a fiery spread…

The bread and little snacks came first, then the steaming tagine

When my tagine arrived, the waiter lifted off the conical top and a cloud of steam billowed up. Moroccan chicken is wonderfully flavorful, but tougher than American chicken because the birds run around and build up more muscle. The onions had caramelized into a wonderful sauce – perfect for dipping bread…

Chicken tagine with preserved lemon (that's the lemon slice you see resting on the chicken)

I was invited on a cooking tour with Access Trips, so on this, my second visit to Morocco, I’ll be doing more than just eating tagines – I’ll learn how to make them. I’ll share the recipes and techniques, so we’ll all be able to satisfy our tagine dreams.

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