What is a tagine – and what is a good substitute for a tagine?
A tagine is a conical cooking pot with a shallow base and tall, cone-shaped lid that is commonly used to make tagines, or stews. The name of the dish and the name of the meal cooking inside of it are the same. The benefit to cooking a tagine (the meal) in a tagine (the pot) is the pot seals in all of the flavorful ingredients that usually have a bit of moisture from sauce and vegetables, then that moisture goes up the sides of the lid and back down over the ingredients, creating a self-basting, flavor-enhancing cycle of deliciousness.
(Check out our simple tagine recipes featuring our North African inspired healthy cooking sauces here! All of the vegetable flavor base and spices are already in the jar for you, ready to pour, cook and enjoy! Also, if you’re cooking for a crowd, here is our North African inspired menu for a large dinner party or gathering.)
Tagines are popular in Moroccan and other North African cultures. They are made of clay, and are meant to cook low and slow, often over coals.
The ingredients used to make a tagine are often tougher cuts of meat such as lamb on the bone and beef such as chuck roast, shank, bone-in short ribs or oxtail. The tougher cuts of meat are the most flavorful, and they become something magical when cooked slowly, infused with the intoxicating flavors of North Africa. Tagines can also be made with just vegetables. Try our sauce over chickpeas, potatoes and eggplant, finishing off with olives, fresh lemon and herbs. Heaven.
So – what do you do if you don’t have a tagine? Your trusty slow cooker does the same work as a tagine! If you don’t have a slow cooker you can use a heavy, shallow baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake your delicious creation in a 275-300 degree oven for several hours. You will achieve the same delicious results!