A traditional method of cooking in countries such as Morrocco and other countries in North Africa, tagines are becoming popular all over the world. A similar shaped pot is also part of traditional cooking in parts of Greece, but it’s the Moroccan tagine that immediately springs to mind.
The shape is the key to preparing the mouth watering stews that are usually made in these beautiful pots, with the low base heating effectively and evenly, and the cone shaped top allowing for condensation to develop and return to the pot, intensifying the flavours and retaining the moisture of the stew. Meats, fruits and vegetables all combine in a mouth watering way with spices chosen to highlight and add to the flavours, creating something that’s much more than the sum of its parts.
By tradition the tagine is used to cook a dish very slowly over charcoal, which adds to the flavour of the dish. We can’t all manage this at home however, and manufacturers have developed ranges that will perform perfectly on stove tops or in ovens, or in some cases both. A diffuser is recommended if a stove top is being used to help the heat to cook evenly, and it’s fun experimenting with how the cooking method changes the taste and texture of the dish. A simple step such as browning off the meat on the hob before putting the tagine into the oven on a very low temperature can change the dish a surprising amount.
Of course far from being merely practical pieces, tagines are also decorative items that grace the table they’re serving. We stock some of the most lovely pots around, such as the Mason Cash tagine which comes in a range of finishes that will suit every taste and add to the ambience of your meal. A spiced lamb and apricot stew served from a beautiful striped pot is a powerful reminder of the history behind the dish, evoking thoughts of exotic spices almost before the scent hits your guests. Equally, though, a plain coloured tagine that suits a simpler aesthetic sets off an intricate dish of sweet and savoury ingredients perfectly.