"Tagine" is a multi-purpose word in Moroccan culture used to describe the earthen, cone-shaped, tabletop cooking vessel used to steam dishes and impart flavor; it is also a category of recipes prepared within the very vessel. Tagines serve as both the cooking vessel and the serving dish for double-duty use.
The reason this cooking method has endured for so long is that tagines allow food the caramelize while cooking and to stay warm for longer when serving. By virtue of slow-cooking meat at low temperatures, effectively braising it until tender, a variety of cuts can be used. Take it from Paula Wolfart, author of "The Food of Morocco." She writes, "clay pots coddle food, bringing forth bright, natural flavors and an unctuous tenderness. Clay pots produce tender, juicier, tastier meat without basting and often with less fat: they heat evenly: they retain moisture, so the food remains succulent."
Hand-crafted by artisans in Morocco
Dimensions: 9" tall / 11" diameter
Formed from the rich, red Moroccan soil of Wadi Lan, and then decorated with a lead-free glaze
ABOUT THE ARTISAN: Hussein with Verve Culture
"I am 37 years old, and I have been doing pottery since I was five years old. Most of my family make ceramics -- my father and uncle and cousins. I worked for my uncle to start with and started my own business twelve years ago. Now I work with my two brothers.
My home village of Ourika, which is 45 km from Marrakesh and is at the base of the Atlas Mountains. The workshop is about 10 km away. My village is small and is beside the river where I have a small shop. I supply lots of shops in Marrakesh and also export.
There are fourteen workers. Some throw the items, others decorate, and others load and unload the kilns. I have just purchased my second kiln which makes me very happy, and it has doubled our capacity. First, we do a bisque first for nine hours, then let it cool. Then we do a glaze fire for ten hours, then let it cool for eight hours.
I use the red clay from our area and use lead-free glazes from Europe. I love my work and supply a lot of bisque-fired pottery to other traders who do their own decorations and glazing. I have an artist from France who comes to my workshop, and he does some special decorating which helps me learn."