If you want to become the Home Chef with a difference, then you might consider a technique not many know about, which is cooking using a tagine.
Tagine cooking is based on earthenware containers named tagines. These are special pots made up of a round container covered by a large dome shaped lid.
Tagine cooking stems from Morocco, and there are many different tagines used. There are many different tagines used, for different dishes. To get a better idea of the range available and to see what different tagines look like you can have a look at the range of tagines on this link.
The ingredients and spices are placed inside the Tagine and cooked slowly for many hours. The use of the tagine is popular in Morocco because it requires a very small amount of water to cook with and preserves precious water resources. Water is scarce in Morocco so they have developed this method to cook tasty and hearty food without using too much water.
Obviously the conservation of water is not such a priority in the West but this is not the tagines only useful feature, it is a great way of slow cooking food as the ingredients inside are cooked slowly and result in tasty exotic dishes.
With its covered lid and unique shape the earthenware pot helps to tenderise the food, and maintain moisture and juices inside. When oils and spices are added they permeate into the food to produce mouth-watering meals.
Traditionally the Moroccans would cook lamb or vegetable stews in the tagine, but you can cook a wide variety of recipes with this uniquely designed cooking pot. You can add dried fruits and nuts to the stew to give them a distinctive Mediterranean flavour.
There are a number of great Moroccan recipe books available at Amazon such as Tagines & Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-pot Cooking. You don’t have to worry about not being able to obtain hard to find ingredients as they can also be purchased at Amazon. check out Zamouri Spices who have all sorts of oils, spices and marinades available online.
One thing to make sure of when you are buying a tagine is that you make sure you buy one that is used for cooking not a serving tagine. The serving tagines normally have a colourful glaze finish and the cooking tagine is usually less decorative, make sure you read the descriptions page if you are buying from Amazon it will usually tell you if it is safe for oven or stovetop cooking or not. Here’s an example of a serving tagine.
One thing to make sure of when you first receive you piece of cookware is to give it a good wash and then season it well. Make sure you have enough oil in the pot when you cook with it for the first time to prevent the food sticking.
There are a number of different brands who now sell tagines, I would recommend a Le Creuset Tagine or one made by Le Souk or Emile Henry.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to cooking with a tagine, it’s a great method of slow cooking and the dishes you make can be both delicious and healthy using this method of cooking. It’s also really versatile and you can cook up great food in your tagine indoors and out.
I like it because it really cuts down on having to wash loads of pots and pans, everything can be added to the pot. I can serve up a delicious spicy stew with big hunks of home baked bread…delicious!