This terracotta tagine is made in Portugal and available at specialty stores like Sur La Table for $19.95. The vessel is glazed throughout and must be soaked in water for 12-24 hours prior to initial use. It's safe for the stove top and oven up to 400 F. I use it in the oven with the lid off.
I use it for my foodcasts and Algerian cooking classes. The base is large enough and deep enough to hold braised tagines, as well tagines that are more stew like.
There is a small steam vent that can be plugged with a little bit of aluminum foil for better moisture retention. With the steam vent left open on this model I often have to add more water during long slow cooking because there is quite a bit of moisture loss.
Whether the steam vent is left open or shut the conical lid on this model gets hot. The conical lids on Algerian made tagines stay cool enough to touch.
Terracotta is porous which means that if the lid gets too hot with the steam vent left open steam produced from cooking will evaporate. If the lid stays cool than the steam will recondense as it hits the sides of the lid. As I've already noted plugging the steam vent on this model will help reduce moisture loss.
Low price point, one of the most affordable tagine vessels on the U.S. market.
Available in a national chain and online, making it easier for consumers to purchase.
Consistent product from manufacturer, very little variations in the way the lids fit, bottoms are flat.
Good looking tagine for the price point, an affordable way to add a functional and decorative item to your kitchen and table. An easy way to "wow" guests because it feels a little more special. There is a mystique and "exoticness" about the vessel. I'm not sure why people have this response, but I've seen it often enough to say that your guests will respond enthusiastically to it.
Can be used directly on the stovetop over a gas flame without a heat diffuser and in the oven. Some tagine recipes call for "glazing" or finishing in the oven, so this tagine is more convenient to use than tagines that cannot be used in the oven.
Very good product for tagines that are entirely baked in the oven.
Retains heat longer than stainless steel or aluminum cookware and decorative for serving in.
When the vessel is warm a distinct aroma of terracotta fills the kitchen
Can be used for non-North African dishes that are braises, thick stews or casseroles.
Limitations and Cons:
The lid gets hot which is a design or material flaw. But can be worked around by adding more water during cooking and plugging the steam vent.
Overall I highly recommend this tagine vessel. The price is right and it's a versatile dish that can be used for many applications. And I'm satisfied with the consistency of the sauce after long slow cooking.
You will need separate tagine vessels if you want to cook meat and seafood tagine recipes. You can use the same one for meat, poultry, game, etc... Clay cookware can absorb odors from foods or to phrase it more pleasantly the curing of aromas can add a deeper layer of flavor to dishes. It's not desirable to mix seafood and meat aromas in the context of Algerian cooking.