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Cooking with Clay: Tagines


Now wouldn't you think someone who cooks Morrocan food once or twice a year could get by with one, or even none? How many tagines does a person need? Apparently, at least three. As always, I was inspired by Paula Wolfert and her early masterpiece, Couscous and Other Good Food From Morroco, now revamped and updated as The Food of Morocco. I purchased all three from tagines.com. Note that they are a great price and good value, but unlike the Mexican pottery I've cooked with, they tend to more delicate. You need to take a little more care and make sure they don't crack from extreme temperature swings or contact with hard objects.





The top one is dedicated to meat and chicken. The middle one is about the same size and dedicated to fish and the same tagine, only smaller, in the last photo is dedicated to vegetables. I don't know if this is really needed but they are all unglazed and it's better to have too many than to few, as I seem to be saying all the time.

If tagines are new to you, you basically put them right on a heat source and cook in them. The lid holds in the moisture. I've seen recipes where the whole thing goes in the oven and I think you should ignore that advice. They are basically a mini-oven as they are. There are glazed versions and I hear they work but they don't interest me.

Going camping? Bring along your tagine! This is a brazier and a few hot coals or slow burning wood make this a very handy thing to have. You can also put a pot of sterno and use this as an almost prehistoric chafing dish.



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