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, as well as a category of recipe prepared within the very vessel. Tagines serve as both the cooking vessel and the serving dish for double duty use.
If it's not broken, don't fix it
Descriptions of food cooked "tagine style" date back to the 9th century classic, The Thousand and One Nights. A lot has changed in the last thousand years or so, but an appreciation for a good home-cooked meal is not one of them.
Clay Cookware for the Win
The reason this cooking method has endured for so long is because tagines allow food to carmelize 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.” #yum