True to textbook definition, I am a non-confrontational person. So when presented with the tangled complication of French-Moroccan relations, I choose to take the easier route: a dinner party menu that melds Moroccan cuisine with French beverages.
Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône
It’s not very Moroccan to drink alcohol, so I chose a French aperitif for this dinner party menu. Pernod Ricard is pastis, which is an anise-flavored liquor that mildly tastes like black licorice. You typically pour a finger or two into a glass and add water until it’s a light yellow color. Ice is optional. The semi-sweet taste goes perfectly with the salty, roasted pistachios.
Just like the beet bourguignon from the last dinner party menu, making the tagine a day ahead improves the flavor and also frees up time the day of your dinner party. The combination of sweet and savory in this recipe will blow your mind. If you’re not crazy about lamb, you can swap it out for chuck roast beef or chicken thighs.
Pair the tagine with a simple cous cous. Just cook the cous cous according to the instructions on the box and add freshly chopped parsley, cilantro, and mint. The Moroccan-Style Carrots are a breeze to make and its bright, clean flavor really pops against the complicated, depth of the tagine.
To wash it all down, we choose a good cheap French Côtes du Rhône wine that is $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. It’s red, full-bodied, and is a nice easy-going sidekick to the spicy flavors of Moroccan food. If you can’t find a good Côtes, you could drink a Rioja, and if you make the chicken tagine, a Sauvignon Blanc or a French rosé would be a great choice.
And finally, dessert! Ask your guests to bring a small tub of pomegranate sorbet (or whatever the store has in stock) and you’ll have the perfect ending to this French-Moroccan meal.