Moroccan food, especially the tagines, are close to our heart. Or rather more accurately, close to our palates and our stomachs. The cuisine uses a lot of the same spices; coriander, cumin, saffron, mint etc but in different ways and combinations. And the zing of the preserved lemons is a joy to the tastebuds. So whenever we feel like have something nice, but not Indian, one of our defaults is a Moroccan tagine. I’ve got a couple of books on Moroccan food and have enjoyed working my way through most of the recipes.
I’ve adapted this particular one from ‘The Moroccan Collection‘ by Hilaire Walden. The cooking process was fairly standard for a tagine, some attention up front and then a little peek every now and then while it simmers away. The result was very nice and because of the artichokes, something slightly different than usual.
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of coriander
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg lamb, leg or shoulder, cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250 ml stock or water
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 3-4 artichoke hearts, cut lengthwise into quarters (See Notes)
- 300 gms frozen edamame beans, thawed (See Notes)
- 1 preserved lemon, seeded & diced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Coriander leaves, to garnish
- Soak the saffron in a little hot water. Tie the bunches of parsley and coriander together.
- Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy casserole. Add the lamb in batches and fry until evenly browned. Transfer to some kitchen towels to drIn and absorb any excess fat.
- Toss the onion into the tagine and cook until they turn translucent. Just as they are starting to go golden, add the garlic. Put the meat back into the tagine, then pour in the stock and add the coriander, ginger, herbs, saffron, salt and pepper.
- Cover with the tagine lid, turn down the heat and simmer it gently for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Check and stir the lamb occasionally and top up some water if it is getting too dry.
- Stir in the artichokes, beans and preserved lemon. Cover and gently cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until the beans are soft. Take care when stirring to not break up the artichokes.
- When ready to serve, discard the bundles of herbs, check the seasoning and garnish with the fresh coriander leaves. Serve with couscous.
- Use artichoke hearts that have been preserved in oil. If you use the tinned ones, be sure to drain and discard the brine first and then rinse the artichokes.
- The original recipe calls for broad beans, but I substituted with some frozen green edamame (soya beans). In a pinch, even green peas would do.