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i went to the "big city" and bought a tajine!

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 March 2012 at 14:27
well - probably a "big town" by most standards, but it is the largest municipality in montana, so even if it just barely breaks 100k in population, we call it the big city. Embarrassed
 
anyway, if you picture the state of montana in your head:
 
 
my small village town of chinook is in the centre of the state, but along the top of the state near the canadian border (20 miles east of HAVRE). billings is pretty much straight south and a little east, almost at the bottom of the state. close to a 250-mile drive, but since it is a centre for many activities in the state (business, tournaments etc.), along with the cities of great falls, butte and helena, and the "university" cities of missoula and bozeman, we find ourselves going there now and then.
 
anyway, along with a lot of restaurants that we get to try for the first (and possibly only) time, we also get the chance to do a little bit of real shopping. one of my favourite places to go is the world market, where they never fail to provide hospitality, great service and good prices on things from all over that i would normally never have the chance to see in person, unless i buy it online.
 
this last weekend, while in town on both business and pleasure, i dropped in there as i always do when i can, and what should i see but something we have been discussing lately: a tajine:
 
 
nothing fancy, just plain terra cotta, and that's fine with me - it's what i prefer, in fact!
 
i expected the price to be 40 or 50 dollars, and thought to myself that i should save up for it and get it on my next trip. but on a whim, i checked the price tag and it said only 19.99!
 
happy day!
 
so i ran over to the beautiful mrs. tas and begged and pleaded for some of my own money with which to purchase this find. she rolled her eyes as she brought out the cash and handed it to me, and i ran back and grabbed one before they could all be snatched up (there were probably a dozen tajines there, and no one nearby, but i ran anyway - lol).  eagerly, i took it to the check-out and was delighted to find that they were currently on sale for 14.99 ~
 
even better!
 
so now i have a tajine and intend to give it some serious attention, sooner rather than later. my real question is, will my first dish be comprised of fish? or chicken? or perhaps beef? lamb is unfortunately out of the question, most likely, due to the difficulty in procuring that aprticular meat.
 
more as it develops..... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 14:40
Great score Ron....may I toot my own horn and recommend Moroccan Chicken for the tagine's maiden voyage?
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 14:45
Ron, did that one come with instructions?
 
I don't want to rain on our parade, but, normally, glazed tagines are used for serving food, but not cooking it. And when they are used for cooking, they are not supposed to go on top of the stove, but only in the oven.
 
You can, with some of them, use the stovetop so long as you use a diffuser as well.
 
There are exceptions, so double check any paperwork that came with it.
 
As to what to make, my recommendation is that you start with a chicken tagine. It's pretty hard to mess that up. Once you've gained confidence using it, you can go on to other ingredients.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 14:54
hey, guys - chicken sounds good, so i will give that a go. i also want to try that great-looking seafood one from margi.
 
brook, it didn't come with any instructions as there was no box or packaging, just a bunch of them on the shelf. i am going to email WM and request any literature available, but in the meantime i scanned the reviews at the WM website a moment ago and saw that, form the looks of it, use in the oven is the way to go. many of the reviews recommended soaking it overnight, as well. will read more into this, and do some research before first use. thanks for letting me know!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 15:29

Is it glazed inside as well? If so, soaking won't do you any good.

Unglazed tagines (or any earthenware pots, for that matter) are cured by first submerging them in warm water for awhile. This causes the structure of the earthenware to tighten and strengthen. Then, before using, the tagine is brushed with olive oil, inside and out, as well.
 
With the glaze, however, the clay body is impervious to liquids of any kind, and won't absorb them. In other words, glazed pots do not have to be cured.
 
I'm thinking you should be fine if you confine yourself to using it to the oven, and go low and slow.
 
BTW, how big is that one?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 15:35
Ron, did you at least get yourself a beer with the extra money?  ...or did you have to give it back?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 15:38
brook - looks like it is 9 inches high and has an 11-inch diameter ~ 
 
when you say "heat diffuser," do you mean something like this cast-iron trivet?:
rod - actually, i found a whole 6-pack of locally-brewed wheat beer, so i'll do a little more reporting on that later, after i've had the chance to try it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 16:44
That might work, but dedicated diffusers are generally more solid discs (maybe with a hole in the center... maybe with a handle... maybe designed to fit like a hat over a burner....)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2012 at 16:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2012 at 08:27
And, Ron, before you make that chicken tagine let us know, and I'll post a perfect salad to go with it. It's from Tangiers, and is based on oranges and mint. Delish!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2012 at 09:20
well, we're getting closer and closer here ~ i took a closer look at my tajine and noticed that the inside rim, as well as a ring along the bottom, were both un-glazed, so i ran through the seasoning procedure, soaking it overnight in water, drying it, wiping on a thin sheen of olive oil and baking it at 300 degrees for a couple of hours the next day. once the required time had passed, i shut the oven off and let it cool down naturally. i was quite impressed with the way the tajine retained heat - it was still quite warm over two hours after shutting the oven off.
 
all set to go, and ready to make something. i believe that due to the ingredients i have on hand, i'll be trying Tajine Msir Zitun - wish me luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2012 at 11:29
Tagines are a wonderful vessel for preparing chicken or lamb tagine ... I have posted a couple of recipes when I first joined ...  EARTHENWARE CLAY ( barro ) in general truly works wonders for the flavors and aromas.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Geo Dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2012 at 22:34
Oooh.....looks like a very fun 'toy' that I'll have to put on the wish list.  I've never heard of that before, but I want one now!Big smile  Calling it a companion to my Dutch Oven seems like a reasonable excuse!  That said, this one is beautiful and I will certainly not fight with them over an extra $10 dollars.*

*An impressive feat on their part given my legendary tendency to be stubborn when it comes to matters of value for the price.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 04:46
That is a pretty one, Geo Dude. And the price seems right (although we don't know the size of the tajine, and I'd bet its on the small side).
 
Keep in mind that that one is designed strictly for in-the-oven cooking, not the range top.
 
Frankly, I'd reserve that one for serving, and find an unglazed one for actually cooking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 05:10
Geo Dude,
 
Yes, this blue tagine or tajine in Berber is lovely, however, as Historic Foodie mentioned it looks a bit on the small side. I agree with Brook, on the Lead Free, Unglazed for cooking and the glazed earthenware tagine or tajine for Serving the meal.
 
If you go to North Africa / Morocco Section: You shall encounter several stunning simple recipes for Chicken Lemon Tagine, Lamb & Date Tagine and a Fish Tagine ...
 
This is quite a lovely addition to your cookware list.
 
Also, in Spain, earthenware clay or terracotta oven ware is commonly called Barro and it is employed quite frequently. If you go the Iberian Peninsula section, you shall see some earthenware vessels for:
 
Basque Cod fish with green sauce or Basque Hake with green sauce; Bacalao con salsa verde or Merluza en salsa verde ... There are also several other Iberian regional dishes employing earthenware Unleaded clay oven ware.  
 
Have lovely day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Geo Dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 05:16
It's listed on the site as 11 inch diameter by 9 inch height, not too bad, but not too big either.

I like the idea of using that one as a serving dish.  Keeps the food warm while plated and looks nice in the middle of a table.  That said, does anyone have recommendations on a particular unglazed one or a place to get it online?  Checking Amazon is a bit of a crapshoot since the prices are all over the place and many of them have no reviews.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 05:29
Geo,
 
I am sure Historic Foodie can assist, as he is a huge fan of Moroccan gastronomy.
 
Off the top of my think tank; William Sonoma, Ikea, and Moroccan neighborhood shops ...
 
Tas, found his in Montana and thus, send them a PM and / or wait awhile, for their replies.
 
We got our´s at the Central Bazaar Market in Marrakesh and bought two for the gals, our daughters too. I have an unglazed unleaded and a lovely decorative one for serving ...
 
The cooking vessel is amazing ... The aromas, and exotic spices truly are lovely and the chicken, beef, lamb, lemon, and veggies come out stunningly tender too.
 
Kind regards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 05:38
Geo Dude,
 
 
Moroccan Furniture Decor
Mc Kalla Place
AUSTIN, TEXAS
1 - 800 - 314 4876
 
 
 
I have personally checked out the website in Austin, and their tagines are gorgeous, and very similar to the dusty blue one you like so much. There is also a red wine color one that is stunning.
 
Ciao.
Marge. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 09:56
geo dude - i think you will enjoy it ~ i've only used mine once so far (a chicken tajine - i will post a pictorial this week), but it was indeed a joy to cook with, and i have inspiration for so many more - fish, beef, lamb (if i ever have any available) - even venison.
 
the tajine from world market that you posted is one that i myself would like to get. it looks like it would be fine for cooking in (oven only, not the stove top - same as mine) and the price is certainly good. most sources suggested "seasoning" tajines, even glazed ones (i assume to help with any un-glazed areas such as bottoms, rims etc., or possibly anywhere that the glaze did not apply for whatever reason), which is an easy thing to do - my notes above show just how easy.  be aware that there can be some darkening and "crackling" of the glaze during seasoning. this is evidently normal and doesn't affect the performance, and the resulting "patina" is even seen as a nice quality in the appearance.
 
any questions, just ask!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 10:43
addendum - i'll be posting my tajine experience soon, but i did want to let geo dude know that the tajines from world market (mine is identical in size to the one he is concisering) are indeed big enough to feed a family: mine was just large enough to hold 9 chicken thighs, plus the other ingredients of the dish. once the chicken was done, I was also able to add a mess of couscous to it - enough for everyone. based on this, i assume that a whole chicken, cut up, will fit just fine.
 
more later, when i prepare my pictorial - be on the look-out for it, geo dude! i'll also cross-link this thread with that one.
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