How to Make a Tagine
The complex flavors of a great tagine come from layering the ingredients into the vessel and then slowly cooking them into a rich stew.
- Aromatic vegetables go into the tagine first, providing a flavorful base on the bottom of the pan that protects the meat or fish from direct heat.
- A snug layer of meat or fish sits atop the bed of vegetables, and any excess marinade is also added to contribute its flavor to the dish.
- Additional fruits and vegetables are arranged decoratively around the meat or fish, or laid on top. Sometimes they’re added raw or parcooked first, and other times they’re cooked separately and added near the end.
- The tagine ingredients slowly braise to tenderness inside the pot, with the lid slightly ajar to allow for a bit of evaporation and concentration of flavors. Swapping the spoon position halfway through cooking helps the stew cook evenly.
- There should be ample sauce at the end of cooking, so check on the tagine from time to time; add a few tablespoons of water if it seems to be drying out.
- If the sauce is watery or thin by the time the meat and vegetables are fork-tender, remove the lid and simmer until it thickens a bit. If it’s too thick, stir in more water. Keep in mind that the tagine ingredients continue to soak up the sauce as it sits, so any prolonged resting time will result in a less saucy, but no less flavorful, tagine.
Make an aromatic base layer.
Arrange marinated meat or fish on top.
Layer fruits and vegetables around and over the meat.
Cook slowly, partially covered.
Add water if the tagine looks dry.
Adjust the sauce consistency before serving.