Sunday, 23 November 2014

Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke tagine

Jerusalem artichokes have a weird name: they're not from Jerusalem and they're not artichokes. We call them in Moroccan batata qessbiya (batata for potato and qessbiya in reference to a cane) putting this root vegetable in the potato family!

I do believe they have an artichoky taste but it could be me.


Anyway, there is a sort of hate/love relationship people have towards this vegetable which by the way causes flatulence (not to its favour). 

Passed this little point, I ensure you that Jerusalem artichokes are really nice especially if you get to temper their after taste.

Best Jerusalem artichokes are more round and less stringy  than the ones in the
picture (see lines through the white flesh), but these will also do
When in season, we like to add them to couscous, make a starter by cooking them in Moroccan chermoula until tenderness (see notes). We also add them to a turnip tagine or we just cook them on their own following a M'qalli logic of spicing.

This tagine will be cooked the same way as the broad beans tagine.



Ingredients
Serves 4 
Prep: 20 min - Cooking: 90 to 120 min

  • 400 g of lamb shanks or beef cuts (shoulder, neck), bones in 
  • 1 kg of Jerusalem artichokes, washed thoroughly and peeled
  • 1 medium-size yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 small bouquet of coriander or 2 tbps chopped
  • 2 tbsps of olive  and vegetable oil mix
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • A good pinch of white and black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • Juice of a lemon

Garnishing (optional)
  • Purple or green olives 
  • Preserved lemon
  • A few coriander leaves



Preparation

Place a deep heavy-bottomed cooking pot on medium heat with about 10 ml of water.

In a separate bowl, add a few spoons of water, mix in all the spices to form a loose paste. Place in the cuts of meats which you should flip so maximum surface is in contact with spices.

Transfer the meat to the pot and add the onion, garlic, and water just to cover the pieces of meat. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil and 3 times the level of meat in water. Cover the pot and let simmer over medium heat. During the cooking process, check the level of water which should cover the meat until it becomes tender.

Add the peeled Jerusalem artichokes with the bouquet of coriander and make sure there is enough sauce to cover them to their 2/3. Cook for another 25 minutes until the root vegetables are tender (stabe one with a knife, it should go though without resistance). The sauce/broth (marka) should also be fairly reduced by now. 

Add the lemon juice and stir gently.

Scoop some marka and pour it in the middle of the serving dish. Place the pieces of meat topped by the coriander bouquet and the vegetable then pour more marka.

Serve hot with a good bread to soak up the sauce.



Notes

  • You can make a vegetarian Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke tagine by omitting the meat.
  • In its original non-vegetarian version, we prefer to cook it with lamb.
  • You can make a Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke starter by cooking them diced or sliced in a liquid chermoula mix until tenderness and then serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with green or purple olives. (For 1 kg of vegetable use half of the chermoula recipe posted in the link).


Mastering many Moroccan dishes by mastering just a few master recipes

The good thing about Moroccan food is once you know how master recipes work, you can decline them by season and make plenty of dishes without having to look for a written recipe anymore!

Whether you cook these Moroccan dishes using a heavy cooking pot or a tagine, It will only differ in the cooking time and the quantity of liquid added during the cooking process, but the "spicing" logic remains the same. So make sure you check these posts  This is the reason I wrote a few post on how to get you there:



Many Moroccan tagines are cooked M'qalli style with small variations in some cases. They just need coriander, turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper, ginger, saffron and olive oil.

This is an example of how you can master a few stews by mastering just one: learn how to make Moroccan broad beans (fava beans) stew or tagine and you would have learned how to make:


  • Green peas tagine


  • Artichokes tagine (globe artichoke or wild artichoke)










  • Carrots' tagine (tagine dial khizzou), just add lemon juice in the end)


  • A version of the potatoes tagine (tagine dial lebtata bezzitoun), you could add paprika


  • Courgette tagine (tagine dial guera'a khedra), just add thyme or/and oregano which can be cooked with chicken, red meat or served vegetarian.


  • Some tagines are just associations of vegetables which are usually available in the same season make the best of dishes. They are also cooked the same way as the master recipe

A dash of paprika is the only addition to the master recipe in order to make this
medley of vegetables tagine
  • Or a combination such as this one

Courgette, green peas, fennel and artichoke tagine garnished with
different local olives

  • Or just a limited mix of vegetables..

Another green peas, tomatoes and olives tagine 

No wonder our grandparents cooked without piling cooking books or even writing down any.

So find the common spicing combination between all the Moroccan dishes you know and see what you can come up with. I think this is an easy method to learn faster.




Moroccan fresh broad bean (fava bean) and artichokes tagine

Broad beans are one of the most favourite vegetables in Morocco, especially when in season and young.

In Morocco, broad beans get picked from the fields, in a matter of a day or two at max, they would have been distributed and sold, maybe already eaten.

Moroccan fresh broad beans stew with artichokes
By sniffing freshly picked broad beans,  you could smell the green jnan or field they just came from. They go in anything such as salads and starters (here, there), soups, stews, tagines, couscous.

We always give a slit to the fresh broad beans (as seen in the picture) before
cooking it so it cooks through in a short time

I was not particularly lucky in finding good fresh broad beans in the hectic London and the ones I found come either frozen or in the vegetable section of supermarket, but then no taste comes out of that. That is to say that I'm so jealous of you! Yes you who can bite into a freshly picked broad bean wherever you are!.

When the broad beans are freshly picked, we can keep some of their
skin on and cook it as well. 
If you can get hold of good broad beans in season, peel the outer skin, give a slit or prick them with a knife and do not forget to remove that little hat or nail each broad bean has on top. Last thing to do is to parboil them in salty and lemony water and freeze your bounty (after draining and cooling) for the rest of the year!



I tried to grow them in my balcony, I think I didn't get the right variety! I know that now because I've read a bit about it. However, it still tasted better than what I got from the supermarket.

Fes, where my family comes from, is where you find some of the best broad beans as they come from the fields around the city and even the Jnans (patches of green fields) within it. So they get cooked in "all sauces" and sometimes they are combined with other seasonal vegetables such as cardoons, globe or wild artichokes (the other vegetable that's ridiculously cheap back in Morocco)..


Moroccan fresh broad bean (or fava beans) stew can also be cooked in a tagine. It follows the M'qalli spicing logic.

This vegetable is better paired with red meat but you can make it vegetarian.


Ingredients
Serves 6 to 8
Prep: 20 min - Cooking: 90 to 120 min
  • 1 kg of lamb shanks or beef cuts (shoulder, neck), bones in 
  • 2 kgs of fresh or frozen broad beans (you may keep 1/4 of beans with the outer skin if they've been freshly picked)
  • 6  artichokes (optional)
  • 1 medium-size yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 small bouquet of coriander
  • 3 tbsps of olive  and vegetable oil mix
  • 1 tbsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of white and black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste

Garnishing
  • Purple or green olives 
  • Preserved lemon

You could reduce the marka (broth, sauce) or keep some to
 dip your Moroccan bread in.

Preparation

If you are going to add artichokes to this tagine, peel them and parboil them in boiled salty and lemony water for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

It's important to scrub the heads of artichoke with lemon and place them in a
 lemony water before parboiling them, to avoid darkening effect

Place a deep heavy-bottomed cooking pot on medium heat with about 10 ml of water.

In a separate bowl, add a few spoons of water, mix in all the spices to form a loose paste. Place in the cuts of meats which you should flip so maximum surface is in contact with spices.

Transfer the meat to the pot and add the onion, garlic, and water just to cover the pieces of meat. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil and 3 times the level of meat in water. Cover the pot and let simmer over medium heat. During the cooking process, check the level of water which should cover the meat until it becomes tender.

Add the broad beans with the bouquet of coriander and make sure there is enough sauce to cover them (add just enough water if you have to). Cook for another 20 minutes (frozen beans take less).

Add the artichokes on top and carry on cooking for another 10 min or until the beans are tender from the inside (fish out one and pinch it). The sauce/broth (marka) should also be fairly reduced by now.

Add a few olives to the sauce just 5 minutes before you knock off the heat.

Scoop some marka and pour it in the middle of the serving dish. Place the pieces of meat, top with the coriander bouquet, broad beans and more marka.

Garnish with olives and slices or preserved lemon. Serve hot with a good bread to soak up the sauce.




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