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Making a Tajine (Tagine) with Venison

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 October 2018 at 10:31
I love using my Tajine to cook wonderful North-African meals. One of the most common Tajine (also spelled tagine) meals is lamb tagine; however, in my own location, vension - which is a very fair substitute for lamb - is easier to acquire. A friend in Europe offered some suggestions and advice when using venison as a substitute for lamb when making a tajine.

Note: his suggestions are based on this recipe for Lamb Tagine:

Quote You could use venison in a tajine, but I would adapt the seasoning. Venison can have more powerful additions and certainly sweeter additions, unlike lamb.

I would use thyme and savoury instead of rosemary. I would use spices like whole cloves and juniper berries along with a little allspice. I wouldn’t use cumin. If you like it, add a little chunk of cinnamon and certainly also ginger powder.

I would also add sweet fruit. I’m thinking quince in the first place, it’s the season. Quince are always rock hard; if necessary, substitute quince with the toughest pears you can find.

If I were to make a venison tagine, I would go like this:

Brown the chunks of meat on high heat, a few at a time in oil. Remove to a bowl, then season immediately with salt and pepper. Add more meat to the pan, possibly more oil will be needed.

When all meat is done, remove, add more oil and lower the fire to medium.

Now start to sweat a whole lot of onion, cut in wedges. Say about double or three times what you would use normally. You need a lot because the onions will thicken the sauce! Add carrots cut in chunks, add celery in smaller pieces. Add garlic. Let it all cook at least 15 minutes.

Then add a teaspoon of ginger powder, no more than 2 cloves, 2 allspice berries (more if you really like them), 3-4 juniper berries, a good pinch of chile flakes (I wouldn’t use harissa).

Cook some more, then make a small free space in the pan and add a tablespoon of tomato concentrate to fry and lose its harshness. Season abundantly with salt and black pepper.

Optional: add a cinnamon stick (not powder), coriander seeds or powder, gently cracked cardamom pods (the seeds have to stay in the pods - they are much too powerful!).

Meanwhile, boil some water and add enough beef stock paste. Or use homemade stock, but not chicken stock.

Add the meat (and its juices!) on top of the onion mixture. Add enough beef stock until the meat is nearly half under. Add sprigs of thyme and/or savoury.

If quince are available, peel, core, wedge and ad; or you can substitute with pears. If quince or pears not available, add dried apricots and a small handful of raisins.

Drizzle a tablespoon of honey over the preparation and squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime over it to balance the sweetness. This sweet/sour combo will take this dish to a very high level! (In fact, all stews and braises benefit from this, we use dark sugar/vinegar in a carbonnade flamande).

Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, set fire to medium low or low and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is soft. Taste sauce and season if needed.
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2018 at 09:21
That's a great sounding dish, Ron. But I have a few possible amendments:

1. Searing the meat. We had this discussion a couple of years ago, you may recall. On one hand, there's no question that searing the meat leads to better flavor. Old Doc Malliard knew of what he spoke. However, in Morocco, tajines are traditionally made without that step. So, you pays your money and make your choice.

2. While quince are available in our markets, they are incredibly expensive.  Ironically, quince paste, while not that common, is actually less expensive. Go figure!  At any rate, this dish would not suffer by using pears.  I would opt for Bosc, because they better maintain their integrity when cooked.

3. I'm concerned about the use of both allspice and juniper.  These are both assertive flavors, which, on their own, tend to take over.  Using both is likely to overpower the other flavors in the dish.  Me, I'd use one or the other, but not both. I'd probably go with the juniper, because it's a traditional match with venison. 

4. Couscous is usually thought of as an accompaniment to a tajine. But I think, in this case, I'd go with a grain like millet. Barley would work, too. Just personal taste. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2018 at 16:06
It is quite late here ( 23.55 ) however, I believe subbing Venison would be lovely for a Tagine, which is the Moroccan spelling and Tajine, The Berber ..

There are uncountable récipes for Lamb Tagine and Chicken Tagine and Fish Tagine in Morocco .. And Beef Tagine - though more rare ..

Quince are quite complicated to work with, as they must be boiled for quite some time prior to employing in a dish or a tart or pie ..   The main growing región in Spain, is Extremadura, 3 hours southwest of Madrid ..

The Lamb tagine récipe I have used is:

Saffron - 6 threads soaked in a shot glass for 10 mins. ( place in the tagine )
1 tsp ginger fresh or dry
1 kilo Lamb boneless for stew or boneless beef for stew
2 tblsps parsley fresh
1 Stick of cinammon
2 or 3 tiny onions
Dates ( 5 or 6 )
2 tblsps honey
2 tablesps slivered almonds
S & P
2 tblsps Evoo
1 cup of beef stock from scratch, the conosomée strained

I do not know whether this has helped but I have prepared this and I also had eaten this Tagine in Tangier, the storied city at the Edge of North Africa on the coast ..
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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