Tajine -- Thoughts?
- Levaeria May 19, 2011 01:41 AM
I’ve been interested in purchasing a pair (one for me and one for the fiancé) of tajines for a while now, but I was wondering how much practical use I’ll actually get out of them. Le Cruset has one for a pretty high price, and there are others on the market at more reasonable costs. If they won’t have much use, I’ll just buy a cheaper set, but if they’re versatile enough I’d like to invest in the LC version.
So, I was wondering, does anyone here use one regularly? How much use does it get? And if it doesn’t get much use, why not? Would you recommend purchasing one? Do you have any suggestions on which one to purchase?
Any advice or answers to my lineup of questions would be appreciated. I’m basically just looking for some general discussion about tajines to help me decide if/which to purchase.
I searched for a thread about tajines, maybe I missed something, but I didn’t pull up much. As always, I hope this isn’t a duplicate posting…
You can get individual tagines but they are kind of gimicky and don't hold much. One of the favorites is by Emile Henry in their Flameware line. It is a glazed ceramic that is stove top and oven proof. The Le Creuset is beautiful in the current yellow they are doing. I do like the cast iron dish. If you get the terra cotta tagines they must be soaked before using and season them.
Whatever you do, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not buy one of those metal tagines. They are wrong on so many levels!
Read Paula Wolfert's Clay Pot Cooking book -- I own three tagines and love 'em and I gave away my METAL Le Creuset version. You do not want to brown the meat! The joy of a tagine is the slow, methodical cooking that is only imparted in clay.
I don't even like the Emil Henry ones as much as my authentic Rifi because the EH are glazed on the inside.
Look at tagines.com for fantastic and authentic tagines.
I have both an unglazed traditional tagine (not terra cotta, mine is a rifi ) and the smaller Emile Henry. I love them both, I use the Emile Henry more often though as it doesn't require a diffuser on my stove and it holds more. I've cooked the same dish in both the Emile Henry and my Le Creuset French ovens and IMO there is a difference in the finished product. Also if you are using a recipe from a cookbook they are often include too much addition of water so I reduce it.
As for soaking or pretreating, follow the sellers/manufacturers instructions.
I was reading a Wolfert article and she says that quite often pressure cookers are used instead of tagines in Middle Eastern cooking. The reason is 1. time, 2. quantity. Most of the tagines are too small to serve many people. The custom has been to rent the size of tagine needed, especially for a party. After reading that, and owning 2 pressure cookers, I decided I did not need another piece of equipment that was good for only one thing. Both the LC and EH are beautiful but I don't need one just for looks.
Thank you to everyone who replied, you've helped us make our decision. We still have to purchase a pressure cooker and Dutch oven, so I think we'll hold off on the tajine.
When we do purchase though, we'll be buying a LC version, an Emile Henry version and an unseasoned clay version. We're both critics at heart and can't wait to see how each one affects the taste of foods.