The tall, attractive, conical cookware common to Moroccan (and other North African cultures) known as the “tagine” is similar in function to the western world’s Dutch Oven.
However, knowing how to cook with Moroccan tagines is a different skill set in some ways. This article is intended to help those who would like to begin using the tagine effectively in their kitchens.
First, let’s get into exactly what the tagine is, how it is made, and how it cooks food. Then we will delve into how to cook with Moroccan tagines.
The tagine itself is named after a style of North African dishes by the same name. Tagines, the dishes or meals prepared in the tagine, can be stews (by far the most often prepared in them), meats, vegetables, rice, couscous, just about anything, really. For a great lamb tagine recipe, click here.
Traditionally, for centuries, tagines have been made of clay, baked into an extremely hard and durable type of porcelain. You can still get the traditional, clay-based tagines today, and they are still commonly used in North Africa. In modern times, however, some manufactures have been producing tagines with equally effective cooking capabilities made of other materials, such as enameled cast-iron.
The unique conical shape of the tagine provides a moist, hot cooking enclosure for the foods being prepared. Moroccan tagines have a shallow, wide base. The cone-shaped lid fits snug and tight inside the base. During the cooking process, steam rises up from the base into the cone. In the cone, the steam condenses, forms beads of moisture, and trickles down the sides back into foods cooking in the base.
If you are familiar with the Dutch Oven, you will recognize some similarity here. The difference is that the tagine is even more efficient with respect to how much liquid is needed overall. The design and method of cooking the tagine possesses is such that it requires far less liquid than the Dutch Oven in order to cook foods very slowly until completely tender.
Okay. With this information in mind, now here is …
How to Cook With Moroccan Tagines-
Be mindful, stews are not all you can learn how to cook with Moroccan tagines. Couscous, rice, and beans are simply magnificent cooked in a tagine. Meat and veggies together, seafoods with rice and/or veggies. Meats with veggies and fruits – once you get a basic understanding of how to cook with Moroccan tagines, the possibilities are unlimited.
When your dish is all succulent and tender, ready to eat? The base of a tagine is a beautiful serving bowl. Just place it on the table and allow your guests to ladle out portions for themselves. You can also use candle warmers on the table, and keep your meal nice and hot for a long, relaxed dining experience. Keep the lid on, removing it only to scoop out portions of food. The food will stay hot, moist and fresh for as long as you wish.
Is the tagine for you? If you already have a Dutch Oven and/or a Crockpot, would you need a tagine? That’s a question that only you can answer, of course. For me, as a lover of ethnic foods from cultures around the world, I decided I just had to have at least one. And the North African dishes I’ve made in my tagine have been utterly fabulous.
Now that you have some ideas on how to cook with Moroccan tagines, if you do not yet own one and would like to have one (or more) in your kitchen, you can find them on our online store – just click here.
Before you leave, may I ask, “Do you already own a tagine? And if so, what do you like to cook with it, and what has your experience been?” Please leave a comment, share your experience, or comment on any aspect of this “how to cook with Moroccan tagines” subject, okay?
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