June 16, 2016

Bonjour Mes Amis,

Tagine!

North Africa has long been part of the Francophone world, and as such, has had an influence on French cuisine and food tastes. Perhaps, the most popular has been the one-pot, slow-cooking method employed by Morrocans and Tunisians that utilize the famous tagine vessel. Tagines are rich and aromatic casseroles that form, particularly, the basis of traditional Moroccan cooking. Flavored with fragrant spices, they are cooked and often served from an attractive lidded cooking vessel, also called a tagine. Here at Paris Grocery, we are proud to carry a broad selection of tagines from Le Souk (Tunisia), Emile Henri (France), and Graupera (Spain). Stop by and check out these beautiful, utilitarian cooking vessels, and discover the savory world of tagine.

Tagine Essentials
Preserved Lemon $12.99
Harissa $9.99
Couscous $6.99
Rose Water $4.49
Orange Blossom Water $4.49
Ras-el-Hanout $22.99/lb
We carry many more spices at our sister store The Spanish Table!

Wines for Tagine!
I’ve selected four wines that would pair exceptionally well with lamb, chicken or beef tagines. All are Grenache and Syrah blends that bring out the savory, spicy elements of tagine cookery, enhancing the meal and lending a note of distinction to your entertainment.

2012 Pierre Usseglio & Fils Côtes du Rhône Rouge $21.99
An estate that continues to release outstanding wine after outstanding wine, regardless of the vintage, Domaine Pierre Usseglio is obviously in fine hands with brothers Jean-Pierre and Thierry Usseglio at the helm.  The 2012 Cotes du Rhone (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre aged all in concrete) is a big, fruit-loaded effort that’s loaded with character. Big berry fruit, licorice, ground herbs and hints of pepper flow from a medium to full-bodied, supple and beautifully textured wine that has fresh acidity and a clean finish. It will impress for 3-5 years. Drink now-2018. – 89 points, Wine Advocate.

2014 Clos de Caveau ‘Fruit Sauvage’ Vacqueyras $29.99
This 50-acre estate lies along the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail and overlooks the Rhône Valley. At an altitude of 650 feet above sea level, the estate is situated 20 km east of Orange and 35 km to the northwest of Avignon. The vines are not only grown at higher altitudes than regular Vacqueyras, they are also naturally isolated into a single plot, making the location exceptional; a belt of Mediterranean forest protects the environment and renders it well suited to organic farming under ideal microclimate and geographical conditions.

“A step up over the 2013 (although still in barrel), the 2014 Vacqueyras Fruit Sauvage offers beautiful notes of plums, black raspberries, violets and licorice to go with a forward, mouth-filling, sexy and voluptuous style on the palate. It still has some tannin to integrate, but this beauty will drink nicely on release and hold through 2022.” – (89-91) points, Wine Advocate.

2013 Domaine Grand Nicolet Rasteau Vieilles Vignes $22.99
Domaine Grand Nicolet possesses parcels in two different communes, Rasteau (20ha) and Sablet (10ha). Planted with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault, the average age of the vines is 40 years, with some of the older Grenache plantings exceeding 80 years. The estate practices sustainable agriculture and is awaiting organic certification.

“A hidden gem in this challenging vintage, the 2013 Côtes du Rhône offers classic dark fruits, leather, peppery herbs and meatiness in its medium-bodied, focused and nicely textured personality. Made from 70% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre, brought up all in concrete, it’s a wine to buy by the case and drink over the coming 3-4 years.” – Wine Advocate.

2014 Mas Foulaquier ‘L’Orphée’ Pic Saint-Loup $24.99
One of my favorite wines! Mas Foulaquier was founded in 1998 by Swiss architect, Pierre Jéquier. There are 11ha in total, 3 of which are owned by Pierre’s business partner and fellow winemaker, Blandine Chauchet, who added her parcels of 50 year-old Carignan and Grenache vines in 2003. The estate is situated in the increasingly fashionable Pic Saint-Loup region, Languedoc’s most northerly appellation, and all the wines are certified biodynamic. ‘l’Orphee’ is named after The Orphean Warbler, a migratory bird from Africa that crosses the Mediterranean and settles in southern France.

A blend of 50% each of Grenache and Syrah and from 20 year old vines, this is a complex and satisfying red whose aromas sing of the garrigue. Deep cherry red in the glass. A delightful nose of rich dark fruit and sous-bois (forest floor) with a touch of black licorice. Medium-bodied on the palate with a definite mineral streak running through the earthy, black fruit flavors. A very well-structured wine with fine, dusty tannins and a lingering finish. 

Spicy Kefta Tagine with Lemon
Recipe from Tagines & Couscous by Ghillie Basan $24.95
Serves 4-6

For the Kefta:
1 lb finely ground beef or lamb
1 onion, finely chopped or grated
Leaves from a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, halved and crushed
a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chile, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
leaves from a small bunch of cilantro, chopped
leaves from a small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, cut into wedges, pips removed
Plain buttery couscous, tossed with finely chopped red chile and fresh green herbs

To make the kefta, pound the ground meat with your knuckles in a bowl. Using your hands, lift up the lump of ground meat and slap it back down into the bowl. Add the onion, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together and knead well, pounding the mixture for a few  minutes. Take pieces of the mixture and shape them into little walnut-size balls, so that you end up with about 16 kefta. (These can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.)

Heat the oil and butter in a tagine. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile and saute until they begin to brown. Add the turmeric and half the cilantro and mint, pour 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Carefully place the kefta in the liquid, cover and poach for about 15 minutes, rolling them in the liquid from time to time so they are cooked well on all sides. Pour over the lemon juice, season the liquid with salt and tuck the lemon segments around the kefta. Poach for a further 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and mint and serve with plain buttery couscous tossed with chile and herbs and leafy salad greens, if liked.

Bon Appétit!
Kelsey & Manuel