North African cuisine comprises a diverse spectrum of cultural influences that is nowhere more evident than in the multitude of flavors represented in its dishes. Originating in an expansive region called the Maghreb, a geographic range comprising Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco, it evolved from the blending of Arab, Berber, Moorish and Mediterranean cooking customs. North African cuisine is largely characterized by slow-cooked stews and vividly seasoned meats braised tender by their time spent over low-to-medium heat inside a vessel called a tagine. Also spelled “tajine,” this word of Berber origin refers also to the meal prepared inside this clever device. Having tasted in my own home the fruits of tagine cooking, having removed from it portions of lamb and beef so tender that I pulled them apart with dessert spoons, I can scarcely imagine my kitchen ever again being without one.
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