Tagine is the Moroccan word that refers to both the conical shaped slow cooking pot, and also to the delicious food prepared in it.
The tagines unique cone shape preserves the moisture in food while cooking, by recycling the steam and aromas, and also creates a circulation within the dish, infusing the food with spices and flavours.
Typically Moroccans' love sweet and savoury ingredients in the same dish, such as Mrouziya (Honeyed Lamb) or feature meat or poultry gently simmered with vegetables, olives, preserved lemons, garlic and wonderful spice blends like Ras El Hanout, Baharat or Moroccan La Kama. We think that cooking in a traditional Moroccan tagine somehow gives the food a unique and individual flavour not obtainable from any other vessel.
Care of your Tagine
Because all our tagines are handmade in Morocco of terracotta, they are fragile and easily damaged. The pots are kiln dried and as such any sudden temperature or humidity changes can cause them to crack.
When using for the first time you will need to season your tagine to remove any earthenware taste and temper the pot, to do this we suggest soaking in a bowl of cold water overnight. Once soaked, season the inside with olive oil and place in a cold oven. Switch oven on to 100˚C and warm through for 1.5 hours.
Warm your tagine base up slowly when using and be careful not to put a hot tagine on a cold surface.
When using on a gas or electric hob we suggest you use a diffuser to reduce the possibility of cracking your tagine base.
Always handwash your tagine and resoak before use, it is NOT dishwasher friendly.
Remember tagine cooking is all about long and slow cooking so dont be tempted to rush and turn up the heat!
The majority of Moroccan stews are even better prepared the day before, making them ideal for dinner parties.
Authentic lamb and apricot tagine
* 500 g boneless lamb shoulder or neck
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1¼ teaspoons salt
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 medium onions diced
* 3 large garlic cloves, minced
* Half a pint of lamb stock
* 8 threads Spanish saffron, crushed
* 6 – 8 dried apricots roughly chopped
* 1 x 400g can chick peas drained
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* Coriander leaf to garnish
1. Cut lamb into 1½-inch cubes and place in a medium-sized bowl. Season the lamb with turmeric, ginger and ½ teaspoon salt.
2. Heat your tagine over high heat using a diffuser if on stove top. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half of the seasoned lamb. Cook the lamb until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and lamb.
3. Return the seared lamb to the pan and add the diced onions. Cook, stirring to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the lamb stock, saffron and bring the mixture to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender. The longer you cook it at low heat, the tastier.
7. Remove the meat, place it on a clean plate.
8. Bring the remaining liquid in the pan to a simmer. Add the apricots, chick peas, honey, cinnamon, ground pepper, and ¾ teaspoon salt.
9. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mixture is slightly thickened.
10. Add the cooked lamb back into the sauce and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes.
11. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with couscous and top it off with a large spoonful of yogurt.