The tagine pot is best known in Moroccan cooking for making delicious, flavoursome stews that are slow-cooked to perfection in this aesthetically pleasing pot, and traditionally done so on an open flame. If you are new to tagine cooking, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with this piece of cookware before you begin to ensure you get the most out of it, and that it lasts for years to come.
Preparing your tagine pot for tagine cooking
Before you begin to use your tagine pot, it’s best first to season it to ensure that it remains strong, and prevent it from becoming damaged or cracked when you place it on a hot stove. Seasoning can also help remove a raw clay taste if the pot has not been glazed.
How to season your tagine pot
- Soak the lid and the base in water in your sink overnight. If your pot is too large for the sink, you can soak it in the bathtub or a bucket instead.
- Drain and dry and then rub the interior and exterior with olive oil. If your pot has been glazed, you can skip this step.
- Place the pot and lid in your oven and turn the temperature up to 300 F/150 C, and leave it for two hours.
- Turn off the oven but leave the pot to cool completely.
- Wash and coat the interior in olive oil.
- Your tagine pot is now ready to use!
Tips for cooking with your tagine pot
Authentic clay or glazed ceramic Moroccan tagines are ideal for tagine cooking. They are specifically designed to add a beautiful, earthy flavour as well as look fantastic as a centrepiece on your dining table.
The versatile tagine pot can be used both on top of the stove or put in the oven. Dishes that are cooked in the pot can be taken straight to the table and served from there. Because of this, they are ideal for recipes for dinner parties or family gatherings. In fact, any social occasion that calls for fantastic, rich food presents a perfect opportunity for you to use your tagine pot and leave all your guests happy and satisfied!
If you are using your tagine pot on the stovetop, you might want to consider buying a diffuser, which is simply a flat metal paddle that acts as a barrier between the source of heat and the bottom of your pot. Doing so can make sure that the ceramic doesn’t weaken and crack, and that your pot will last as long as it is supposed to.
Tagine cooking takes time!
Because tagine pots are designed for slow cooking, this means that it is essential to avoid placing your pot on very high heat. Keep the temperature low and let all those amazing flavours slowly cook and release for the perfect mouth-watering meal that will surely be worth the wait!
It’s also worth mentioning that tagine pots should be allowed to cool gradually. If you switch from one extreme temperature to another, this again could make your pot more susceptible to cracking as it will expand in the heat and detract in the cold. When you are finished cooking, therefore, place the pot on a wooden board rather than a cold surface to prevent thermal shock.
There are lots of enticing recipes that you can follow in tagine cooking. Remember to use oil liberally in your food as you don’t want to scorch ingredients and doing so will help to add flavour to other juices and liquids making sumptuous sauces which are perfect for mopping up with a good chunk of crusty bread.
Remember patience pays off
Tagine cooking is not for those who want to whip up a quick meal in a rush. It is instead the opposite. A slow, tender process that is a labour of love and patience is the best practice – try to avoid disturbing the meal once you’ve added all the ingredients. Just let the tagine pot do its thing!
Cleaning after tagine cooking
To ensure you care for your tagine pot properly, you should use hot water and baking soda to help remove stubborn food traces from the interior after tagine cooking. Where possible, try not to resort to hard scrubbing which could damage your pot. Avoid soap, especially on unglazed pots, as the clay could absorb it and leave a soapy taste for next time. Once your pot is clean and dry, you can rub it with olive oil again, and then it will be ready to store away.
Tagine cooking, whether it’s for a hearty, home-cooked meal or a crowd-pleasing dinner party centrepiece, can be a rewarding and satisfying way to cook. Now you are ready to start, why not try out our fantastic lamb shank tagine recipe?