This delicious Moroccan taqine recipe can be prepared in a pressure cooker, conventional pot or traditional clay tagine. Directions are included for all methods. Fragrant with ginger and saffron, it's a personal favorite of mine. Goat meat may be substituted for the lamb or beef.
The recipe calls for artichoke bottoms. See How to Clean Artichoke Bottoms if you plan to use fresh artichokes, which is preferred in Morocco. Frozen artichoke bottoms may also be used.
The cooking time reflects a Moroccan preference for peas stewed until very tender. This allows the peas to fully absorb the flavorful sauce. Double the cooking times indicated if using a Dutch oven or pot, and allow even more time if slow-cooking in a tagine.
Serves 4 to 6.
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) lamb or beef, cut into 2" to 3" pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped (plus an one more onion, sliced, if cooking in a tagine)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) peas
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) artichoke bottoms
- 1 preserved lemon, optional
Pressure Cooker or Conventional Pot Method
Combine the meat, onions, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and spices (except for the saffron) in a pressure cooker or wide, heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring several times to turn the meat and brown it on all sides.
Add about three cups of water, cover, and increase the heat to high until pressure is achieved or the liquids boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook with pressure for 25 minutes (or simmer conventionally for 40 to 60 minutes).
Add the peas, artichoke bottoms and saffron. If the liquids are not level with the vegetables, add a little more water. Cover, bring back to pressure and cook for 12 to 15 minutes (or simmer for 25 to 30 minutes), until the vegetables are tender. Check the seasoning and If necessary, reduce the liquids until a rich sauce has formed.
Serve with Moroccan bread for scooping up the meat and vegetables.
Clay or Ceramic Tagine Method
If using freshly shelled peas, parboil them for several minutes; drain, and set aside.
Coat the base of your tagine with a little oIive oil. Slice an additional onion into rings and distribute the rings on the bottom of the tagine.
In a bowl, mix the meat with the remaining olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, spices and chopped cilantro and place over the sliced onions. Add the mixture to the tagine, taking care to arrange the meat in the middle.
Surround the meat with the peas, then arrange the artichoke bottoms all around.
Swirl about 2 1/2 cups of water in the bowl used for the meat to "rinse" the spices from the side of the bowl, and add this water to the tagine. Add a little more water if necessary to barely cover the peas.
Close the tagine and place over medium-low heat. (A diffuser is necessary if cooking over an electric burner and recommended for other heat sources as well.) Stay patient while the tagine reaches a simmer -- it could take some time. Once the liquids have reached a simmer, continue cooking the tagine for about 3 hours, checking the liquids once or twice in the last hour of cooking and adding a little bit more water only if you feel it's necessary.
The tagine is done when you can easily break the meat apart with your fingers. If necessary, continue simmering uncovered to reduce the sauce.
Garnish as desired with strips of preserved lemon. Serve the dish directly from the tagine with Moroccan bread on the side for scooping up the meat and veggies.