Test Driving a Tagine

Tagine. The very word conjured up a magical mirage of Marrakesh and Casablanca, dashing Berbers and belly dancers, hookahs and saffron-laced spicy stews.  I gazed at the overpriced albeit charming hand painted glazed clay artifact in the Williams Sonoma store, and in a fit of self-indulgence, bought it. My children were less impressed. “It’s a pot”, explained the world weary, newly minted college graduate. The beatnik teenager sniffed the air hopefully, “Mom bought pot?”

Tagine and harissa sauce

Tagine and harissa sauce

Online, opinions and advice flew in, fast and furious. You’ll need a heat diffuser for the stove top. Don’t place it in a preheated oven. You have to temper it first. Just use it as a serving dish. The clay will leach heavy metals. Never try to wash it until completely cooled. Intimidated, but determined, I applied the same (lack of) logic I use to call upon divine spirits to bless our laboratory research. I soaked the tagine overnight, then rubbed in some olive oil, and baked it for an hour despite a strong suspicion that the glazing on the pot made this exercise unnecessary. I sent my husband to the store for some tagine spices. Prudently, he purchased every exotic mix he could find: Harissa, Za’atar, Ras-el-hanout.  The aromas were all-too familiar though: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon. “Mom, you’ve been had”, the 14 year old wisely concluded, “It’s Garam Masala”.

Vegetable Tagine

Tagine Vegetables

Tagine Vegetables clockwise from top: butternut squash, red onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots and beans.

Sliced onion sauteed with minced garlic and ginger

Sliced onion sauteed with minced garlic and ginger

Spices, clockwise from top: coriander powder, tagine spice mix, turmeric and saffron

Spices, clockwise from top: coriander powder, tagine spice mix, turmeric and saffron

Toast the spices, briefly

Toast the spices, briefly, with the lightly browned onions.

Add a cup of tomato puree

Add a cup of tomato puree. Add salt to taste.

Toss the sauce with the cubed vegetables and mound into the tagine base

Toss the sauce with the cubed vegetables and chickpeas. Mound them into the tagine base. Cover with the cone shaped lid and place in oven. Turn heat up to 350F.

Bake for an hour until the aroma is heavenly and the vegetables are fork tender

Bake for an hour until the aroma is heavenly and the vegetables are fork tender.

Garnish with fresh herbs.

Garnish with fresh herbs.

Serve on a bed of couscous cooked with a touch of olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Garnish with lime wedges

Serve on a bed of couscous cooked with a touch of olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Garnish with lime wedges.

Clean up was a breeze!  My husband dug into his plate, saying “Mmm…all it needs is some lamb”. He was assigned dish washing duty for making mischief.

Spring has sprung in Maryland!

Magnolia blooming in the yard.

Magnolia blooming in the yard.

Easter bunny knows I'm a vegetarian and grows bold.

Easter bunny knows I’m a vegetarian and grows bold.

Hyacinths bloom before the opportunistic weeds arrive. I'd better get to work!

Hyacinths bloom even as the opportunistic weeds poke through. I’d better get to work!

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in FOOD, Garden, Moroccan cooking, Spices, Vegetarian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Test Driving a Tagine

  1. Karen says:

    Enjoyed your post…I stare at the tangines but have not bought one.

    • I do recommend them Karen! Although I worried that mine would crack, it turned out to be surprisingly fuss-free to use and I can’t wait to try it again. In fact, a friend suggested I cook tandoori-style Indian food in it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s