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moroccan tagine
Photo: jkdjulia on Flickr

The word tagine refers to two things: 

  1. A stew of North African origin containing slow-simmered meat, fish and/or vegetables, typically served over couscous.
  2. The cone-shaped earthenware vessel it’s cooked in.

The flavor profile of tagine can be complex: Sweet elements like raisins, other dried fruits and honey are frequently incorporated into the savory braise, as well as tartness from green olives. The dish features an array of spices from cinnamon to saffron. The shape of the tagine pot lends itself to a perfect braise — the hot, moist air that accumulates in the upper cone condenses into moisture, which cooks back into the dish. We’d bet this ancient gadget also makes a pretty solid beef stew.