Out of (North) Africa: Moroccan Menu

  • Photos by Christina Holmes

Richly spiced chicken tagine and syrup-infused date cake call up the tastes of Morocco for any dinner party. 

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Old-world romance meets casual chic in our menu of seasonal takes on Moroccan classics, which fuse Mediterranean ingredients with Middle Eastern spices. The one-pot main dish and loaf cake scented with orange blossom are that much better when prepared ahead, making this family-style meal an option even for a weeknight gathering. 

Make-Ahead Strategy

  • 1 to 2 Weeks Before

    Shop for pantry staples, beverages, and specialty items, such as harissa, saffron, and orange-blossom water. Make syrup for cake; refrigerate. 

  • 3 Days Before

    Shop for fresh produce and chicken. Roast, peel, and halve beets; refrigerate. Toast and chop walnuts for cake. 

  • 2 Days Before

    Bake cake and douse with syrup; cover and store at room temperature. 

  • 1 Day Before

    Prepare tagine (omitting cilantro); let cool and refrigerate. Segment oranges for cake; refrigerate pieces with their juices. 

  • 2 Hours Before Guests Arrive

    Whip cream for dessert; refrigerate. 

  • Just Before Guests Arrive

    Prepare couscous. Reheat tangine over medium heat; stir in cilantro. Combine beets and dandelion greens in a serving dish; make cumin oil. 

  • 1 to 2 Weeks Before

    Shop for pantry staples, beverages, and specialty items, such as harissa, saffron, and orange-blossom water. Make syrup for cake; refrigerate. 

  • 1 Day Before

    Prepare tagine (omitting cilantro); let cool and refrigerate. Segment oranges for cake; refrigerate pieces with their juices. 

  • 3 Days Before

    Shop for fresh produce and chicken. Roast, peel, and halve beets; refrigerate. Toast and chop walnuts for cake. 

  • 2 Hours Before Guests Arrive

    Whip cream for dessert; refrigerate. 

  • 2 Days Before

    Bake cake and douse with syrup; cover and store at room temperature. 

  • Just Before Guests Arrive

    Prepare couscous. Reheat tangine over medium heat; stir in cilantro. Combine beets and dandelion greens in a serving dish; make cumin oil. 

Main Dish

Chicken Tagine with Almonds, Apricots, and Olives

Sweet dried apricots, crunchy almonds, salty olives, and juicy chicken combine in this one-pot main dish. It's served with steamed couscous and fiery harissa, a Tunisian spiced red chili sauce. (A little goes a long way.)

Leafy Greens

Roasted Beet and Dandelion Greens Salad

Young, tender dandelion greens are tossed in a salad with roasted beets; cumin seeds flavor the warm dressing. 

Sweet Ending

Date Cake with Orange-Blossom Syrup

This date-and-walnut-studded loaf cake is served with fresh citrus. Mint tea is a traditional finale to the meal: Fill a teapot or heat-safe glasses with mint sprigs, add scalding water, and sweeten as desired.

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