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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.