Tagine pots are usually made of clay and comprise of two parts: A circular bottom dish and a funnel like lid with a hole. This cookware's design allows for the vapors to rise to the top, where the air is cooler, then condensate and fall back into the stew. This process ensures the meat is tender and juicy. Traditionally, this clay cookware was used by Berber nomads in Morocco and north Africa as portable ovens for making stews over charcoal fires. The tagine would sit above the fire to cook meats and vegetables slowly over a very low heat.
Tagine cookware can be pricy and unless you will be using it regularly, you may not want to invest into a tagine pot. Furthermore, clay pots that are glazed are not always appropriate for cooking as the glaze can crack if not used properly. If you are looking at purchasing a tagine pot, make sure you do your homework. You may also want to consider getting a plain unglazed pot that you can season yourself or a sturdy cast iron tagine pot that will not crack. If you don’t intend on investing in a tagine, you can use a crock-pot (slow cooker) or a Dutch oven. Both will work fine and the results will be the same as the tagine. Of course, the tagine pot is very impressive especially if you bring it to the table! However, there are decorative tagine pots used solely for serving which means you could essentially make your tagine in your Dutch oven or crock pot and serve it in a serving tagine pot for impact.
Traditionally the tagine stew is made of lamb but it can also be made with beef, chicken or shrimp. You can also make a vegetarian tagine with root vegetables and chickpeas. Tagines often include one or many of the following: Dried fruit such as apricots, dates, prunes or raisins for sweetness, Harissa for heat, almonds for crunch, lemon or olives for tartness and always Ras el Hanout for the aroma and North African flavors.
Ras el Hanout is a blend of 15 to 100 various spices and herbs. Every shop in Morocco has it’s own recipe and not one blend resembles the other. Some blends are higher in paprika, while others have more ginger or more cinnamon. Our Ras el Hanout, Sultans’ Delight, is a blend of 19 spices with warm, sweet and savory notes. We have tested our blend with this wonderful lamb tagine recipe which we are sure you will enjoy.