Comments: Simply having a tagine marks you as an interesting person,… an adventurous cook,… quite likely a world traveler. You could use it as a decoration – never cook with it – and you'd still look cool! But it you have it and use it, you are cool, way cool, in fact, and you open yourself up to some wonderful eating.
Tagine means stew and is a bedrock of Moroccan cooking, including meat or poultry, vegetables, often olives, preserved lemons, garlic, and rich in spices. We have had authentic tagines in Morocco, and can't wait to go back. We can (and do) make them at home, but there is something about the real thing in the real place!
The name tagine is also generally used for the dish in which these one-pot meals are cooked, although it's really a shortened form of tagine slaoui.
Moroccan tagines are generally earthenware and are cooked over an open fire or in a bed of coals. This tagine from Le Creuset is designed for Western kitchens with a base made of enameled cast iron, which can be used on any heating surface, including induction, halogen, and ceramic. It has a stoneware top in the traditional shape, which is ideal for the long, slow simmering of rich, flavorful recipes. It helps moisture circulate throughout the piece so there's no need to open, stir, or turn the tagine, making preparation much easier.
Our one critique it that it is a little small, with a capacity of 1-3/4 quarts. You can successfully use any of Le Creuset's recipes that come with the tagine, but we were not able to fit in whole recipes from Paula Wolfert's seminal Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco without unfortunate spillovers. This is a small family or small dinner-party tagine.
Needless to say, coming from Le Creuset, it is wonderfully made and comes in such rich colors, you may have trouble choosing just one.