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Tagine Recommendations & Preferences


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I have never used tagine before but I have decided I have to give it a shot. Is the clay tagine really worth the extra effort involved? I don't mind a little extra care if I like the results (Im a carbon steel knife junky) but the le creuset is attractive do to the fact that I would not need a heat diffuser when using it on the range and I could use it at higher heats and under the broiler if I wanted to.

So any opinions on this delima?

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I have never used tagine before but I have decided I have to give it a shot. Is the clay tagine really worth the extra effort involved? I don't mind a little extra care if I like the results (Im a carbon steel knife junky) but the le creuset is attractive do to the fact that I would not need a heat diffuser when using it on the range and I could use it at higher heats and under the broiler if I wanted to.

So any opinions on this delima?

I got a large red Emile Henry tajine for Christmas and it has been fantastic. I have used it to sear stuff on electric and gas stovetops and to braise all day in the oven. The most remarkable thing is not how tough and robust it seems to be, but how I can practically wipe it clean with a cloth after getting it so messy. But its also the only one I have ever used.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I have never used tagine before but I have decided I have to give it a shot. Is the clay tagine really worth the extra effort involved? I don't mind a little extra care if I like the results (Im a carbon steel knife junky) but the le creuset is attractive do to the fact that I would not need a heat diffuser when using it on the range and I could use it at higher heats and under the broiler if I wanted to.

So any opinions on this delima?

I have a le crueset and love it--you can actually cook in it. I think the clay ones are for display or serving and low heat warming.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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I have never used tagine before but I have decided I have to give it a shot. Is the clay tagine really worth the extra effort involved? I don't mind a little extra care if I like the results (Im a carbon steel knife junky) but the le creuset is attractive do to the fact that I would not need a heat diffuser when using it on the range and I could use it at higher heats and under the broiler if I wanted to.

So any opinions on this delima?

I have a le crueset and love it--you can actually cook in it. I think the clay ones are for display or serving and low heat warming.

You can actually cook in the unglazed clay tagines; they are intended for that specific use. I have a Rifi tagine and like the results I get with it, as well as with my other clay pots. I have gotten up to medium-high heat on my (electric) stovetop, but that's usually overkill. As a rule I keep the heat to medium. After some experimentation I've decided that the diffuser isn't necessary. You can also use the tagine in the oven. The trick is to make gradual heat changes - no cold liquids into a hot pan, gradual warming to your final burner temp instead of just blasting it on high right off the bat, and so on. There's a lot more information in the above-mentioned thread on Moroccan tagines.

The painted and glazed tagines are generally intended for serving only. (There may also be tagines that don't have a food-safe glaze, that are intended for display only. I haven't looked.)

I have a number of heavy metal pots as well as clay pots, but I don't have a metal tagine, so I can't comment on how the LC would compare to a true clay tagine. I think there's likely to be some difference in the taste and texture of the final result (clay better), but I have no doubt that the LC is harder to break and easier to hurry along.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The Emile Henry, Le Crueset tagines that are cooking vessels are just that IMHO. They do not give the "seasoning" that comes with cooking with it. By this I mean that the clay over time will absorb flavors and contribute to the foods' overall yumminess that you can't get if the tagine is glazed or made of metal. A glazed or metal tagine is then just a way to get your food cooked. So, I recommend getting an unglazed tagine if you want to reap the benefits of using one. I have the rifi and use it often for slow cooking foods on the stove. Clay is a fantastic medium for cooking food. A Simmer Mat should be used with it but even still, the food will get hot and cook just fine. Smithy is right about the painted tagines...for serving only.

Here is a great webiste that has authentic imported tagines. www.tagines.com

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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There must be something in the air -- I have recently posted on both MF and CH about this very topic and I am definitely in the clay camp. I paid full price for a Le Creuset tagine and after getting both a Rifi and an Emil Henry, just gave the LC away. The Emil Henry holds significantly more than the LC and (I think) performs better. I just adore my Rifi for classic Moroccan tagines.

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Most any recipe can be adapted to clay pot cookery. And, yes, conversely, most of the recipes in my upcoming book can also be cooked in good, heavy porcelainized metal vessels so long as they're the right shape and size and can hold and distribute slow even heat. But for me the whole point is to cook as much as possible in clay... to obtain that special flavor that only clay can convey.

Though prepared with less liquid, clay pot cooked dishes will emerge especially moist with an unctuous tender texture, and a special "distinctive thumb print taste" of hand-crafted food that writers now fashionably call gout de terroir -- the taste of the earth. There is also the pleasure of "coddling" food in clay, a pleasure both sensual and gustatory.

Let's call it qi.

I try to keep to tradition and use the pots which were developed by potters for specific dishes. On the other hand, tagines and cazuelas are almost interchangeable; Italy's Vulcania casseroles, Chinese sandpots, and French daubieres are interchangeablel. I don't think it's really a big problem to switch over.

And don't forget the nutritious and lowfat qualities that make clay pot cooking so desirable.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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...Though prepared with less liquid, clay pot cooked dishes will emerge especially moist with an unctuous tender texture, and a special "distinctive thumb print taste" of hand-crafted food that writers now fashionably call gout de terroir -- the taste of the earth. There is also the pleasure of "coddling" food in clay, a pleasure both sensual and gustatory.

Let's call it qi.

"Zen and the Art of Claypot Cooking". I love it!

Last night I used my rifi tagine to cook up a chicken that has been lurking in the freezer since last fall's close of the local Farmer's Market. I've been saving the bird until I had time to give it the coq au vin treatment, considering how tough its siblings have been. (Husband thinks I've been buying roosters.) Yesterday I decided to give the bird a Moroccan treatment instead. By the time the tagine was done cooking, that bird was falling-apart tender, all over, with not a hint of toughness nor of breast meat drying out. Sorry, no photos this time, but if anyone doubts that you can cook in unglazed clay, let me know and I'll post some photos the next time around.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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  • 1 year later...
The best deals seem to be at http://www.tagines.com/default.cfm

That may be the only good source. A number of us ordered from this purveyor a few years ago when Paula Wolfert recommended him here. You want an unglazed one for cooking. I can recommend the Riffi.

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I have the Rifi too and really like it. The only problem I have with it is it's size. The base isn't very deep and I have a hard time getting six pieces of chicken in it. then if you want to add various veggies it gets nearly impossible to fit it all in there. If you're looking to feed 4-6 people, you may want to consider the unglazed Beldi that comes in larger sizes.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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... the iSi silicone tagines ...  Micro and oven safe but no stove top use. ...

OK. I've become a traditionalist throwback!

A tagine (any tagine) is a decorative item.

But it also has a functional raison d'etre.

On top of a stove or fire, the large conical lid is cooled by the air. The cool lid condenses the steam inside, which retains liquid - so dishes aren't cooked with lots of liquid. They don't need it.

But it can only act in this way as a reflux condenser IF the lid is cool.

And the lid can't be cool if the thing is inside the oven, and heated from all around.

It only works properly (by which I mean at all differently to a more conventionally shaped pot) on the stovetop or above a fire.

So a tagine that cannot be used on the stovetop is a bit of a chocolate teapot.

But a microwave tagine?

You'll need to give me a while to think about how that works with the concept of tagine cookery...

There is another cooking vessel designed as a reflux condenser, which should be at least equally functional, albeit perhaps not as decorative. LeCreuset's 'doufeu'.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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  • 2 years later...

I bought a tagine!

After much research and agonizing, I got a 14" Beidi tagine from tagines.com. It arrived and I instantly realized it was huge. Fortunately the nice folks at tagines.com allowed me to exchange it for a 11.5" unglazed Rifi tagine, which just arrived today:

tagine.jpg

The Rifis are not only unglazed but also hand-thrown and quite irregular - the top doesn't quite fit the bottom, which is purposeful, to allow steam to escape (there is no hole in the lid).

Now I'm getting ready to cure it. tagines.com recommends soaking for at least 2-3 hours in water, then rubbing the inside with olive oil, and leaving it in a preheated 350-degree oven for 2 hours.

However, I also noted Wolfert's recommendation to rub with wood ash. I had my partner bring down some wood ash from one of the fireplaces at his mother's house in Boston (nothing toxic burned there) - at what point during the curing process should I add the wood ash?

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I too have a Rifi tagine and love it. The wood ash is just for looks, to make it look old and well-used and well-loved. You use the wood ash after you do everything else. It does not affect the taste of the food, which I too think tastes better cooked in clay. Otherwise, you might just as well use one of your regular casseroles.

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Initial cure and seasoning complete - I used the wood ash. Then put in about another 1/4 cup of olive oil - it just drinks it up.

Tonight I'll be cooking in it for the first time... thinking about an Algerian chickpea dish in dersa sauce.

Edited by patrickamory (log)
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