How To... > Use and care for a tagine

Tagine use and care

What is a tagine?

Tagine is the Moroccan word that refers to both the unique glazed earthenware vessel with a distinctive conical lid and also the food prepared in it.

Traditionally used by nomads as portable ovens over charcoal braziers for making stews, usually containing meat, the tagine is used for both cooking and serving, but care should be taken to protect your table when using the tagine as a serving dish as the base will be very hot.

Cooking principles

The conical shaped lid helps preserves moisture in the food as the steam condenses on the inside of the lid.  The shape of the lid also creates circulation within the dish, infusing the food with spices and flavours.

The low indirect heat produces a rich, aromatic flavour as the food slowly simmers for hours and the resulting meat becomes meltingly tender.

Most tagines involve slow simmering of less-expensive meats.  Very few Moroccan tagine recipes require initial browning, making them ideal to cook in the oven.

Types of tagine

Tagines come in two types those that can be used for serving only and those used for cooking.  We have an extensive selection of serving and cooking tagines.

Serving tagines

These Moroccan tagines are often highly coloured and patterned, but are not suitable for cooking and are not dishwasher safe.

Cooking tagines

Traditional Moroccan tagines: These are made in Morocco of glazed terracotta and ideally require seasoning before use.  They can be used in the oven and over a low gas flame preferably with a heat diffuser.  These are not dishwasher safe, please wash by hand in warm soapy water.

Other cooking tagines: We have a selection of ceramic tagines on the site in variety of colours and patterns.  These are fully glazed and do not require seasoning before first use.  They can be used in the oven but not on the hob, and are dishwasher safe.

Seasoning your tagine for first use

This is not essential but will remove any earthenware 'taste' and strengthen your tagine.

1.  The new tagine needs to be submerged in water for at least 1 hour.

2.  Rub the inside of the base and lid with olive oil.

3.  Put in a cold oven and set temperature to 150C (gas mark 2) and leave for 2 hours.

4.  Remove from oven and leave to cool.

5.  When completely cool, wash in warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.

6.  Your tagine is now ready to use.

Recipes

Tagine is perhaps the most frequently served dish in Morocco.  There are literally hundreds of variations of this exotic Moroccan stew.  We have a selection under our recipe section, but have also included a further recipe below.

Tagine with peas, preserved lemon and olives

This is a fresh spring dish full of Moroccan flavours, and goes equally well with beef or lamb.



1kg (2lb) lean lamb or beef, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of chilli powder, optional
1/4 tsp of saffron threads, lightly crushed
1kg (2lb) fresh peas, shelled weight
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Peel of 1 preserved lemon, cut into pieces
12 green olives

1. Put the meat in the pot with the oil, onion, salt and pepper, ginger, chilli and saffron.

2. Cover with water and cook covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is very tender, adding water to keep it covered in the sauce.

3. Add the preserved lemon peel and olives and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or longer, until the sauce reduced.

4. Add the peas and coriander, and warm through.

5. Serve with bread or couscous.

Pre-heat oven to 180C (gas mark 4).  Serves 6-8.

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