Tagine, Tajine

I am one who appreciates eclectic taste hence, identifying my love of collecting, antiquing and thrifting.  It takes a creative mind to repurpose an item, see past the junk to seek out the gems and have an appreciation for the ‘hunt’.  I enjoy antique shops, junk shops, estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores and great deals!

 Really, who doesn’t!  With that I HAVE to share my latest great deal:

Estate sale
Le Creuset Tagine
Worth = $185
Paid = $12
Savings $173

My new Le Creuset Tagine

the kicker is that I have wanted a tagine but alas it didn’t fit the budget!

While I was walking around the estate sale with aching arms from the weight of cast iron, several people asked me just what it was, I was carrying.  I explained many times that it was a tagine receiving blank stares or replies of hmmmm.  I realized that not everyone loves cooking and perhaps not everyone enjoys global cooking or cooking methods, yet at that estate sale I think the tagine inspired some folks!

This is what that cone-shaped thing is and how it works:

The tagine is a cooking vessel and a name of the dish prepared in said cooking vessel.  Tagines are incredibly diverse in ingredients and spices and originated from all over North Africa.

The tagine is designed to trap and retain moisture within the conical shape allowing food to essentially be steamed, ensuring that it won’t dry out.  The shape of the tagine assists in creating very high cooking temperatures which help to caramelize and meld flavors together resulting in a rich stew.

Tagines incorporate vegetables, meats, nuts, fruit and spices to create a rich and seasoned stew.  There are meat and vegetarian tagines.  Meat tagines typically utilize tougher cuts of meats which become tender after hours of cooking and steaming.  Vegetarian tagines use chickpeas, root vegetables and legumes.

Tagines are typically served from the vessel and eaten with couscous, rice or bread.  Typical spices include cumin, saffron, paprika cinnamon, coriander and capsicum.  Regional tagines feature additions like various nuts, olives, preserved or salted lemons, prunes, dried apricots, golden raisins and pomegranate seeds.  These additions are typically added towards the end of cooking for an added texture or sweetness.

This recipe for Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine will be my first attempt at tagine cooking!

This is how the tagine turned out, next time I may toss in some zucchini or spinach for color.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine

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