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Tagine Dream

February 16, 2009

tagine

Sweet, sweet tagine.  Where have you been all our lives?

At the shop we’ve just received these brightly colored tagines.  Better yet, they come in two sizes, a larger option which holds up to 7 cups, and an adorable mini that has a 1/2 cup capacity.  Made of blonde terra cotta and microwave/dishwasher/oven safe–these pots make an excellent one-of-a-kind housewarming gift.

What’s a tagine, you might ask?  A tagine is an ancient cooking vessel that hales from North Africa and Morocco.  Its special shape makes it ideal for turning inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender, juicy meals.  The steam created during the cooking process collects in the top of the tagine’s conical lid.  There it turns to moisture and falls back into the food, creating the perfect cooking environment for food that loves to be cooked low and slow–food like short ribs and shanks.

Other items that benefit from this style of cooking are savory dishes enhanced by the flavor of sharing a pot with simmered fruit.  A perfect example of this is the recipe you’ll find here for Chicken with Apricots and Spiced Pine Nuts (from Gourmet magazine).

While those dishes are better served by the larger 7-cup tagine, small and tasty ingredients can be made in the 1/2 cup mini.  Perfect for roasting garlic or sweet shallots, this little tagine also makes a great counter-top salt cellar.

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