Moorish Tagine cooking in the forest

Eating and food are a staple in books, especially of the Young Adult persuasion.

I have written eating scenes in my YA books, but as I reread the chapters of “Rise of Orelium,” I realized I didn’t include very many, not that “Rise of Orelium” is a YA book or anything…

(Whispers as she shakes her head, “It’s not… nope… not at all…”)

There are a few places where eating together is mentioned, but there was one pivotal scene between the Humans, the Dwarves, and the Uasal; their first meeting and the forging of an alliance.

I felt the need to expand that scene more than a mere mention that Dhorfal cooked for Tesar and his men. There needed to be more for such an essential scene in that book, but… what?


And a few minutes later…

Researching the history, I knew the “breaking of bread together” was a custom signifying peace and alliance for many ancient tribes and communities.

Eating together was a sign of fellowship and a promise, especially among the Vikings and Celts, to name a few.

If you have read my About Me page, you know I grew up in Spain. Mortoa, where my Dwarves live, is based on the Andalusian coast above Morocco, Africa, in all its Moorish glory.

It finally dawned on me that my Abuela Doloris’ Moorish Tagine needs to be in this book. It is meaty and hearty, just the right bit of spicy; how much more Dwarven can a dish get?

In the book, Dhorfal prepares this dish with cubed venison and wild sweet potatoes for Tesar and Thangwen over a campfire.

In my childhood, Abuela Doloris most often used goat or lamb for this recipe and a combo of carrots and turnips. She cooked it over her little gas stove in a Tagine pot.

So as Dhorfal, Thangwen, and Tesar enjoy the recipe in writing, I would like to share with you the recipe my Abuela used to make, with love and remembrance of a beautiful woman that may not have been my blood, but she loved me just the same.

Abuela Doloris’ Moorish Tagine

As written, this dish is Paleo diet-approved, especially if you serve it with cauliflower rice.
Makes eight servings.



2 lbs of Raw Meat, ground, OR cut into small cubes (Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Bison, Venison, etc.)

12 ozs of one of the following: (or you can mix)

  • Roasted butternut squash, cubed
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, cubed
  • Roasted white potatoes, cubed
  • Radishes, cubed
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Roasted Turnips, cubed
  • Roasted Parsnips, cubed

1 White, Sweet Onion, peeled and sliced.

2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced

6 dried dates, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon Raw Honey

6 tablespoons of Tomato Paste

1 tablespoon Ras El Hanout

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 cups Stock or Broth of choice (Try to match up with the meat, chicken stock for chicken meat, beef stock for bison, beef, venison, etc.)



1. In a medium pot, Tagine pot, or Dutch Oven, heat 2 teaspoons of your choice of oil on medium until hot.

2. Add the onion, garlic, and your chosen veg into the oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the veg is softened; season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Increase the heat to high and add your meat to the pot with the vegetable mixture. If you are using ground meat, stir to break the meat up; otherwise, with both types of meat, cook until browned.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the Ras E Hanout spice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring into the meat mixture.

5. Add the tomato paste, cook for another minute, stirring until the tomato paste is caramelized.

6. Stir in the honey, the stock/broth, and the cinnamon stick, season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Bring the Tagine to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

8. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon Stick.


Serve over your choice of rice, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, couscous, or farro; the sky is the limit.

You can even eat as is in a bowl, like a thick stew, or with a pita.

In the image of my dish, I used ground beef, frozen butternut squash cubes, and beef stock, served alongside cauliflower rice.

A while bowl of Moorish Tagine with coconut rice.

And Now for some Important things...

**Note 1: As I said above, my Abuela Doloris often used goat or lamb for this recipe and a combo of carrots and turnips. As I grew up and struck out on my own, I changed the veggies as I went more towards a Paleo and then a Paleo Keto diet. This dish is epic with parsnips or radishes in combo.

Sadly, This dish cannot be compliant for most Keto dieters (20 carbs or less a day.) The dish does not taste the same without honey or the dates; believe me, I have tried.

But, my favorite and most often cooked is ground beef and butternut squash. Perfect for when I need a carb reload!


**Note 2: This recipe can be made vegetarian or vegan by removing the meat (obviously) and changing that out to mushrooms, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, etc.; changing the stock/broth to a vegetable one, and changing out the honey to a more appropriate syrup type sweetener, especially date syrup.


**Note 3: No, I don’t have the nutritional numbers. You can input the recipe in My Fitness Pal or Carb Manager. Nope, this is not a paid gig; I mentioned those two because I have used them, and they are the ones I am familiar with.

Over to you!

Have you had Tagine before? What do you think of it, do you consider it a dish fit for a Dwarf? If you try the recipe, come back and let me know what you think!

Inara Reynolds is a freelance writer, poet, author of short stories and creator of a few fantasy worlds. She has written character classes for various role playing games, as well as modules.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.