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The lovely people at Kitchenware Direct have spotted my weakness for kitchen gadgets and sent me this adorable little Scanpan Tagine to review. I love slow cooking so it was a great choice and something I’ve always wanted to have. 

Kitchenware Direct are a family owned business that operate out of Perth, WA. They have some really great offers on KitchenAids, one of my all time favourite appliances (look at all the pretty colours!). They were an absolute delight to deal with and I was kept updated about my order process the whole way through.

So, let me start with the tagine. The base is well-constructed from 18/10 stainless steel and is sure to stand up to some tough use (as long as you don’t drop the lid – from what I’ve heard Scanpan don’t sell replacement lids.) What I love most about it is that it’s suitable for induction cooktops, as well as oven safe and dishwasher safe. I like that you can cook and serve in the same pan – my close friends will know that I have a serious problem with separation of cooking dishes and serving dishes.

My only gripe with it is that’s it’s rather teeny tiny – the base is 14.5cm even though it’s listed as an 18cm tagine. I just think that if you’re going to spend 3+ hours slow cooking something, you’d probably want to make enough at least for leftovers. That said, it might not bother everyone.

In a nutshell, what I liked about the 18cm Scanpan Tagine:

  • Induction compatible (not many tagines are)
  • Oven and dishwasher safe
  • Well-constructed, heavy base that heated evenly and got hot quickly – allows for good browning of meat
  • It’s impressive on the table

What I didn’t like about the Scanpan Tagine:

  • It’s small – with other ingredients, you could only really fit 300g of meat in there which is about a two person serve. Personally, I think if you’re going to invest time slow-cooking something, you should at least get a generous serve out of it.
  • It has no handles which makes for difficult maneuvring on the stove as the rim gets hot.
  • Availability of replacement parts – Scanpan don’t sell replacement ceramic lids if you break yours.

Now, onto the recipe so that you can make your own tagine this wintertime. Seeing as it’s a sort-of curry, it makes for great leftovers too – definitely better the next day. This is the first time I’ve made it and it turned out pretty well. I’m even going to suggest it’s a rather fool proof recipe, very much chuck it all in a pot and leave it to simmer. That’s what I love most about slow cooking, it’s hard to stuff it up. And even if you hate dates and apricots (I do, yes, even sticky date pudding) just put them in there – they add a balance and subtle sweetness to the sauce.

Beef Tagine with Dates, Apricots and Almonds
serves 6-8, with a side of rice or couscous

800g diced beef – blade, rump or chuck

Marinade
1 tbsp ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix, available from good delis)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp paprika, less if you’re spice intolerant
freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
2 large brown onions, thickly sliced
5 cloves garlic, roughly diced
1 can chickpeas (400g)
10 dates, pitted
10 dried apricots, cut into thin slices
350ml passata
500ml stock, or water (I used water and it tasted great)
1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks

to garnish
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh coriander, chopped
100g almond slivers, toasted

  1. Mix up the spice mix and marinate beef for at least an hour.
  2. Heat some oil on medium heat in your tagine – if you don’t have one, a heavy bottomed casserole dish will do – and brown the meat on all sides. Make sure it’s only on a medium heat so the spices don’t burn.
  3. Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until onions are translucent. Deglaze with some stock (or water) and use the spatula to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add chickpeas, dates, apricots and passata then add more stock or water to just cover the meat. Cook for two hours on a gentle simmer, adding more liquid as needed.
  5. Add chunks of sweet potato and cook for another 45 minutes, or until the a piece of beef breaks easily when pressed with a fork and the sweet potato is easily pierced.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander, parsley and toasted almond slivers and serve hot with couscous or rice pilaf.

Couscous
serves 6 2 cups water
1 tsp stock powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cup couscous
½ small red onion, finely diced
½ small red capsicum, finely diced
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tbsp currants
chopped parsley and coriander
  1. Boil water with stock powder and olive oil in a saucepan. Add couscous all at once, stir to combine, then immediately cover with glad wrap. Leave for two minutes.
  2. Add onion, capsicum, almonds, currants and chopped herbs to the couscous mixture and toss with your fingers, taking care to break up lumps.

Tips for a top tagine:

  • Use fresh spices, if they’ve been sitting in the back of your cupboard for a year, it’s likely they’ll taste… dusty, is the best way I can think to describe it.
  • There’s really no shortcut to slow-cooking – unless you have a pressure cooker
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