A variety of dates are native to Morocco and North Africa, including the highly regarded Medjool dates. It's no surprise, then, that this naturally sweet, nutritious fruit has made its way into Moroccan tagines.
Lamb or Beef Tagine with Dates is an easy, savory main dish to put together for a family dinner or when entertaining. Prepared in a manner very similar to that of the more famous Meat and Prunes Tagine, the tagine with dates is a sweet and spicy mix of meat, fruit, cinnamon, saffron, ginger and pepper. Because the dates are sweeter than the prunes, I like to make the seasoning a bit spicier with the additions of white pepper and a little Ras el Hanout.
Toasted unhulled sesame seeds and fried almonds are traditional garnishes and add nutty, crunchy contrast. I like to use both the sesame seeds and the almonds, but some Moroccans consider it more proper to use one or the other as a garnish, but not both on the same dish.
Photo © Christine Benlafquih