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Tangine - worth the money?

Hi everybody--forgive me if this has been posted before, but I looked around and didn't find it, so here goes :)

My boyfriend REALLY wants a tangine for x-mas, after seeing it used on Iron Chef America so many times--he's convinced himself that he's got to have one. I've been thinking about getting him one for christmas, but I want to know if its worth the few hundred I'm planning to drop on it.
He's a very spoiled boy, but I'd hate to buy him something he uses once and it hides in the cupboard forever (especially since it's so big)

I know its used mostly for Moroccan food/stew, but does it have other uses? Can those Moroccan foods be cooked in another type of dish?

What are your experiences? Any advice or groovy recipes? Thanks!!

-Dani

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  1. The best one to get is the Emile Henry. It's a red clay, but you can use it on the stovetop to brown the food first. The Le Creuset one is too small. You can make a whole chicken in it and use it for braising the same way you would use a dutch oven. You can roast in it with the cover off too. One review on Amazon said she made the same recipe in a tagine and a dutch oven, and it was better in the tagine. Get the 12.5" size Emile Henry one. Comes in many nice colors.

    1. Are we talking about traditional clay ones that require soaking and/or seasoning before use, or one of the modern adaptions which has a cast iron (enameled?) base, essentially a shallow dutch oven with conical top?

      While searching for information on Chinese sand pots, I came across this article that compares various braising dishes, including the tagine (not tangine) and dutch oven
      http://thecookskitchen.net/2007/01/26...

      1. Their neat... why not swing over to Sur La Table, they carry a traditional terra-cotta tagine for $25. That's right, no need to get the $115 Emile-Henry, IMO anyways. It's a great deal. A simple cookbook showing some Tagine recipes will be more than that.

        1. I wouldn't spend more than $100 on one if that. I love my Le Creuset one but I don't think it does anything I couldn't already do with a dutch oven. It's mostly for show.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jzerocsk

            I've heard similar things - tagines are pretty, but they can't hold a lot, and a regular dutch oven works just as well. Even Claudia Roden doesn't seem to speak of them as absolutely necessary in her Middle-East/North Africa cookbooks..

          2. If he watches ICA, and he's spoiled, get him a blast chiller...... and seriously, remember when something gets placed on a show, the manufacturer of that is doing it to sell more cookware. A relative of mine works on Top Chef, and those brand names just don't show up on the set accidently. To me, tagines and santokus are specialty items that the industry is trying to force into the "must have" category.

            1. Spending a "few hundred" is going waaaay overboard, I agree with the other posters. It's something that can be had for much less than that. If I'm not mistaken, the original tagine is made from terra cotta, and that's not expensive as mateo says. And it is spelled tagine, not tangine - there's no "n" in the middle. Just a head's up there. ;-)

              1. We have a red Emile Henry tagine. My husband bought it off the sale rack at W-S last year after Christmas. He'd always wanted a tagine and when he found them on sale couldn't resist.

                We use it and it performs well but I have to be honest and say I can't tell a difference between using it and using our LC ovens in terms of function. The EH piece is pretty and interesting and looks great on the table and on the bookshelf when not being used however and if you have room and budget is a fun thing to have.

                1. Thanks for all the help guys---I think I will head over to Sur La Table and get the cheap one, since it doesn't seem to be REALLY a necessary item. I can't wait to see it hogging my precious little cupboard space...

                  And thanks for the spelling tips ;)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Daniellabelle

                    My husband also wants one. I think I'll wait and see if they ever come on sale in a Toronto store sometime. They do look cool though!

                    1. re: SusanB

                      They sell them online at Sur La Table if there isn't one around you...www.surlatable.com
                      I got mine last night for 25$...woo!! I can't wait to make him fix me some good food :)

                  2. Christmas gift-giving is often not very rational (and i include myself in this; no one wants to look cheap), but my mother was a ceramist and I can assure you that several hundred sollars for a clay pot is a rip-off. But if makes for a happy holiday, what the heck.

                    1. I can HELP YOU with this small problem! Go to a good POTTERY SHOP and HAND BUILD one! use a slab roller, the potter will have a slab roller, tell them you want it at least 1/4 of an inch thick; better 1/3 inch thick STONE WARE! and just make one, it is not difficult and get the direction of the master potter. VERY EASY! and instead of throwing the cone, ask if he has a plaster cone mold. If not ask them to help you make one.

                      You can glaze it with a high fire glaze, tell them it must be food safe glaze, and paint it any way you choose with his name on it! PLUS you can make the well as deep as you want. I always make mine about 3-5 inches deep and the dome fits down into the well. It won't make a mess like shallow tagines. That way you can cook just about anything stove top and oven, plus you can make a roaster top for it... I LOVE THE ONES I MAKE they are all personal gifts for everyone I make then for.
                      Everyone that gets married gets one from me, I always seen then written as Tajine (Morocco) or Tagine (American spelling)
                      If you cant find a shop let me know I love to make them!

                      Lots of foods and stews, but it makes GREAT BREAD... I put in the stew meats and veggies, and on top put in the bread dough... The stew will bubble over the bread and it is the best! Make a cheese bread and do this even better!

                      Have LOTS of fun with this,

                      Gail

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sauers

                        Gail U ARE TOO COOL! ahhhhhhh....i love that u know what your talking about...id love to learn more about how to cook pork and make it exceeding tender....i have a romertofp and i avoid using it as its suppose to set in water ...which would be tap water....i cant see wasting my spring water for this ...what do u think about that ?
                        am i being silly?
                        i can smell the chlorine in my bath etc...
                        whats the best way to cook pork
                        if i need a tangine ill get the one on sale for 25
                        im sure if i went to pottery barn its going to be more than 25 no?
                        your so great thank u thank u :)
                        trackingtko@gmail.com
                        tee

                      2. Oh make sure it is NOT Earthenware, it is to porous, and the glaze is wrong. It must be a very HIGH FIRE LEAD FREE glaze! The glaze must be about 2500 degree, house ceramics and dishes are often not even close to that temperature and the glaze will chip and crack, causing the clay to expand and break or even explode!

                        The clay must be Stoneware! Much more able to handle heat. Terra-cotta is a stoneware, made with red clay. Some Stoneware can be different colors depending on the clay body and pigments added... I love white stoneware and adding pigment as I use the slab roller to flatten out the clay.

                        The ceramics you paint for the house is not the same it is called earthenware... The same with some dishes, some are glazed earthenware, they are the lighter weight dishes that break easily. If you go into a good pottery shop you will tell instantly the difference between earthenware and stoneware.

                        While you are making your items, think about making a matching garlic roaster, YUMMY!

                        If you need help let me know, and stove top cooking on a Tagine is much different than oven cooking... stove top browns it and sears in the juices and oven cooks through out, still basting but it is different not crusted on the outside like stove top.

                        Tajine, Tagine are used in areas that water is not plenty, they use lots of oil, that is why it crusts so well on stove top because of the oil.

                        If you cant tell the difference between stove top and oven you are not using it correctly.

                        The oil will make a seal so it takes less liquid to make the food. Water is used in the oven, but a small amount so you don't take off the meat glaze... if you go from stove top to oven make sure you if you do decide to add water that it is boiling. It is usually stove top cooked and then left to cook after removed from the heat, the Hot air being trapped in the dome, and the sweat from the food self basting the food. When salt is added to the veg or meat, it automatically brings out the water.

                        1. This company (based on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle) has wonderful stuff, in addition to tagines. You can look at the store locator or write to them directly.

                          http://lesoukceramique.com/index.php/...

                          1. Coming very late to the discussion, IMO tagines are well worth the (more reasonable) costs.

                            In summer, when kitchens get hot, it takes a very, very low flame to use the tagine, much lower than I use to keep a cast iron dutch oven going for the same period of time.

                            The limited steam release also keeps kitchens cooler.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shallots

                              "butter late than never"