Recipes for Change: Lamb tagine with Moroccan truffles

The Highlands of Eastern Morocco, located approximately 1000-1400m above sea level, stretch over four provinces (Oujda, Taourirt, Jerada and Figuig). It is an environmentally and socioeconomically fragile area.

It is in this region where Moroccan Truffles (Terfass) can be found. Terfass prefer an arid to sub-Saharan climate between 1000m and 2000m above sea level. While many people see truffles as a luxury, for small farmers in this region, these fungi are a staple natural resource.

However, truffle harvests are being threatened due to a changing climate. Overgrazing and climate change are contributing to land degradation within the eastern highlands causing issues such as desertification, drought and prolonged hot and cold weather. Degraded, unfertile lands have a huge impact on truffle crops as they are not farmed but foraged and are reliant on host plants. As many smallholders are dependent on terfass for extra income, climate change is adversely affecting their food security.

Why don't you try cooking a traditional Moroccan tagine with terfass and lamb. You can substitute the terfass for root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots or potatoes.

Try the recipe at home: Tagine with Moroccan truffles (terfass) 
Serves 8

Nutritional values per 150g serving:
375 cal. 5.3g carbs. 18.8g. fat. 45.8g protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1Kg lamb shoulder meat
  • 2Kg truffles (terfass)/alternatively use mixed root vegetables such as potato or parsnips
  • 2 onions
  • 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • tbsp coriander
  • tbsp parsley
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp ginger
  • tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper

Cooking instructions:

  • Cut lamb into pieces, brown with olive oil and onions in large pot.
  • Once browned add garlic, herbs and spices and cook for 5 mins. Then add 1 litre of water.
  • Cover and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile wash terfass (or substituted root vegetables) thoroughly, peel and chop into big chunks. Cook in boiling salted water for 10-15 mins until tender.
  • Remove from the water and fry with a little olive oil and water from the lamb for 5 mins or until golden brown.
  • Add terfass 10 mins before the lamb is done. Serve with cous cous.

Climate threats to terfass in the highlands of Morocco:

  • Desertification & drought
  • Prolonged hot & cold weather
  • Overgrazing

ASAP Solutions:

  • Diversification of crops & income generation
  • Livestock management for soil regeneration
  • Promotion of water-efficient horticulture systems