Algerian tajine jben, revisited…..Tajine jben Algerien , revisite’ …

The North African term of « tajine » can be misleading at times, even though its  most populirized definition is that of the Moroccan cone-like claypot in which meat and vegetables are slowly cooked……it has actually a wider meaning that changes  from  region and country to another .

Algeria, being a vast country……the cuisine and the culinary lexicon  is far from being homogenious….. while the west regions and some of the central parts have the same definition od tajine as the neighbouring Morroco , the eastern parts tajine diffrentiates  it self by being a sort of fritata in which cooked meat, eggs, cheese and vegy are blended  and baked…….
a tajine can also mean a stew  or a claypan  in which Algerian bread is cooked ( clic)

this definition is also shared by the neighbouring Tunisa and Libya……

Being from  the Easten region of Algeria , I would like to shed the light on my own understanding  of tajine….this  » gratin » like dish that reminds me of my childhood, ramadan Iftar tables and lazy summer lunchs where cooked meat, vegy, egg, and generous portions  of cheesed are blended together , popped into  oven and enjoyed with the most hearty bread and the best mediterranean salads…….
In my french blog, i extensively talked about tajines , and shared my family recipes or those  found on the web…… can find them here, here or here

this is a classical tajine jben recipe with a 2012 look, i.e, a puff pastry crust that make it more delicious……feel free to  add another sheet of puff pastry , the result is even tastier

1 chicken breast1 onion finely chopped
salt, pepper, turmeric150 gr of chredded cheese

3 to 4 portions of cream cheese type  such as « vache qui rit » or « kirri »

optional : vegetables of your choice : 1 potato diced into cubes then fried, grilled pepper , cut into cubes, fresh mashrooms fried with a knob of butter , a pinch of salt, pepper and a tbs of chopped  parsley..etc…….
50 ml of milk, 2 tbs of breadcrumbs
4 eggs


Start by browning the chicken with onions, spices and ghee/butter for few minutes, cover with hot water and let it simmer for 30 mn until the chicken is tender and the gravy reduced to half. allow to cool  , then shred the chicken, pour back into the gravy pan , add in the rest of ingredients. lightly beat until you get a smooth and a well blended mixture.

if you want to bake it the classical version, i.e without the puff pastry base, greese a pyrex dish, put it few minutes in the oven until it gets hot ( this will help you cut the tajine easily and clean the dish without much fuss ) pour over the tajine mixture, sprinkle some additional cheese on top and bake for 20 to 30 mn until firm to touch in centre.

if you like my puff pastry version, line  a cheese cake mould with parchement paper, greese the sides of the mould gently lay the puffpastry sheet into the mould .If possible, chill the the crust before filling and baking. pour the tajine mixture and bake until golden brown and firm in the centre.

un blanc de poulet

sel, poivre, curcuma, smen/beurre

4 a 5  oeufs selon la grosseur,

150 g de fromage rape’, genre gruyere , cheddar

2 cas    de chapelure

50 ml  de lait

.3  a 4  portions de vache qui rit

Facultatif : poignee’ de persil hachee’ et une autre d’olives vertes coupes , un poivron grille’ et coupe’ en des, quelques champinions, coupes en lamelles et  revenues legerement avec une cas de persil hachee’, une noisette de beurre, une pincee’ de sel et une autre de poivre…….. tous ces ajouts sont personnels et facultatifs car ma recette familiale est sans legumes au fait )


faire revenir le morceau de poulet coupe’ en 4, avec le smen et les epices, couvrir d’eau et laisser cuire.
une fois le poulet cuit et la sauce reduite . emietter et le retourner ala sauce .
entre temps, melanger ensenble,oeufs, chapelure, lait, les deux fromage, persil et olives, battre le tout a l’aide d’une fourchette,  ajouter   au melange, sauce/ poulet .
huiler ou beurrer copieusement votre moule, le faire chauffer quelques minutes au four ( pour faciliter le demoulage du tajine et le lavage du moule), versez-y la preparation et enfourner pd une vingtaine/trentaine de minutes.
le tajine sera cuit quand la surface est bien dore’ et un couteau incere’ a l’interieur sortira sec sans aucune trace de liquide. pour reproduire ma version  » quiche-tajine » , il suffit de  prendre un moule a charniere ou a manque’. le tapisser de papier sulfurise’ pour faciliter le demoulage , huiler les parois du moule,  foncer – y une pate feuilletee’. remettre au frais, puis verser le melange ci-dessus. faites cuire dans  un four  chaud jusqu’a ce qu’ un couteau  incere’ sortira  sec.