Moroccan Lamb and Eggplant Tajine

Braniya {Lamb and Eggplant Tajine} for #SundaySupper

In Moroccan Food by Amanda Mouttaki53 Comments

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The tajine is a Moroccan slow-cooker. It’s an ancient cooking pot originally used by the indigenous Berbers of North Africa. It is not only the word used to describe the cooking vessel but the meal contained inside. Braniya happens to be one of MarocBaba’s favorite meals, though it was only this year that he “remembered.” This week’s #SundaySupper theme is low and slow, and a tajine certainly fits the bill!

Braniya and Bread

Regional names for varieties of tajines are often unknown even to other Moroccans.  In Marrakech this dish is braniya, but when talking with some friends of ours who are from the Rabat area, they had no clue what he was referring to.  So, not only do no other Arabic speakers (save for some Algerians) understand Moroccan Arabic, even other Moroccans in the country don’t understand all the variations of the language! I’m sure this tajine is prepared in other parts of the country, though I’m not sure the other names it goes by.

Here’s what I do know. 

  • This dish is amazingly delicious.
  • It’s got lamb
  • It’s got eggplants
  • It has a delicious, rich sauce.
  • DO NOT serve this on top of, next to, or anywhere near couscous.  Couscous and tajine are two different dishes that do not go together!

Most tajines are prepared, left alone to slowly cook, and then eaten by scooping up the pieces with crusty Moroccan bread.  There’s a little more work involved with braniya, but I promise it’s worth it. If you want to try your hand at Moroccan bread I’ve got a recipe for khubz here at MarocMama.  Otherwise a good loaf of French baguette does the trick.

Braniya before Cooking

Braniya {Lamb and Eggplant Tajine} for #SundaySupper

Ingredients

  • 2 lb of lamb, any cut works, I like a cut up rack or neck pieces
  • 1/2 large onion chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 2 tsp liquid from preserved lemons
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger powder or 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 4tsp water + more as needed
  • For the Eggplant Topping
  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 6-8 Tbsp liquid from cooking tajine

Instructions

    Starting the Tajine
  • In the bottom of a large tajine, add the olive oil and onions. Remember to follow all stovetop cooking directions for your tajine. Turn the heat to medium low and allow the tajine to heat up.
  • Meanwhile, clean and trim the lamb you will be using.
  • In a bowl add the preserved lemon liquid, ginger, black pepper, and garlic.
  • In a smaller bowl crush the saffron threads between your fingers and put into the bowl. Add 2 tsp warm water and leave for about 5 minutes. Then, mix with the lemon mixture.
  • Rub lamb pieces with the marinade, adding the chopped parsley to the top.
  • Place the pieces of lamb into the tajine, arranging so that all the pieces fit when covered.
  • Break up the preserved lemon with your fingers and slide into cavities all around the tajine.
  • Add 2 tsp of water to the bottom of the tajine, cover, and leave it alone!
  • After 1 1/2 hours check the tajine. There should be plenty of liquid from the meat cooking. If not, add some water.
  • To Prepare the Eggplant Topping
  • Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Place the rounds into a large bowl full of salted water.
  • In a deep fryer or a large pan, add enough oil so that the eggplant pieces will float.
  • Heat on medium high, you'll know it's hot enough if you can add a drop of water and it sizzles.
  • Remove several of the eggplant rounds and dry on a towel. Add them to the oil and fry until they are brown on both sides. Do not crowd the pan!
  • Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel (or cloth towel) to absorb any excess oil.
  • Continue until all of the eggplant has been fried.
  • In a large frying pan, add all of the eggplants and 6-8 spoonfuls of the liquid from your cooking tajine.
  • The eggplant will start to break down, add the vinegar at this point.
  • Use a fork or wooden spoon to mash up the eggplant as it cooks. It should not be a liquid but more like a cooked salad.
  • When the lamb has cooked through completely, and there is still some liquid remaining in the tajine, remove from the heat and add the eggplant to the top of the meat.
  • Serve hot. This is usually eaten communally with plenty of bread to scoop up the meat and eggplant - don't forget an extra dip in the sauce before eating!
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Moroccan Lamb and Eggplant Tajine

Come see what my other #SundaySupper contributors are bring to the table today. Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen is this week’s host (love her blog!) and you’re going to find a ton of great recipes using slow cookers, smokers and other slow cooking techniques.  on’t forget to join the #SundaySupper chat on Twitter Sunday to discuss cooking low and slow! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share our delicious recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Low & Slow Breads & Starters:

Low & Slow Mains:

Low & Slow Sides:

Low & Slow Desserts:

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Low & Slow Food from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

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Amanda MouttakiBraniya {Lamb and Eggplant Tajine} for #SundaySupper

Comments

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  10. sunithi

    ooh, I need that dish ! This looks and sounds heavenly. Love the combo of eggplant and meat ! I must try this stovetop :)

  11. The Wimpy Vegetarian

    I love tagines! I’m so glad you made this – I was interested in it as soon as I saw you post your title on the forum. I would love to make this !!

  12. Liz

    My hubby LOVES lamb…maybe this dish will get him to enjoy eggplant, too. Sounds wonderful

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Yes you can! You’ll just want to pay close attention to the liquid level. It may require more as I notice it cooks off faster. Then just serve on a large dish or shallow bowl with the sauce!

  13. Camille

    I’ve never had tajine – I only made it as far as Egypt in No. Africa! It looks delicious though and a great combination of flavors.

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  15. Diana @GourmetDrizzles

    Amanda, this is awesome! I’ve always been a bit intimidated with dishes like this, as I’ve not used a tajine before. But, this looks so delicious and full of my favorite flavors… I’m going to give it a try!!! ;-)

  16. Bea

    This dish looks absolutely amazing! I have been toying with the idea of buying a Tajine for a long time now I have to have one. Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe! ~ Bea

    P.S.: I am so excited for your upcoming move!!!

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  18. Nicole

    Oh this looks wonderful – so moist and full of flavor. I love lamb so much – probably my favorite meat. What a perfect recipe!

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  26. Renee

    I have almost bought a tajine so many times. Seeing this recipe makes me want to get one soon. Lovely flavors and I promise I would not serve it with couscous.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      It can be a big investment – I’ve seen some sold here in the US for upwards of $250 – which is sad since in Morocco they’re easily bought for only a few dollars. The simpler the better – plain clay tajines are the best!

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  28. Susan

    I bet your kitchen smells amazing while this is cooking. I love anything lamb and I really like the chose of using bone-in, gives more flavor. Keeping this in mind when I’m overflowing with eggplant due to my CSA.

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