I am convinced this is THE tajine of spring. As soon as I see the first artichokes in the market my mind immediately races to this dish. Eaten out of season it just isn’t quite as good.
I love the combinations that this tajine brings together. Sometimes everything just becomes mush and the same taste but when done right this is a dream come true. The artichokes become creamy, the peas are a sweet pop of flavor, the meat adds a heavier component and the spices pop up a mixture of tastes in your mouth.
This recipe is best when made with fresh artichokes and fresh green peas however if you can only get frozen it will work too. I like to soak both in warm water before adding to the tajine, bringing them up to room temperature. I find they suck in the flavors of the dish better and don’t water it down.
This tajine is very popular in spring when peas and artichokes are fresh. If you're a vegetarian, omit the meat, double the vegetables and cut in half the cooking time! Please note the cook time for this recipe is approximately double if using a tajine pot.
- 1 lb beef, cut into equal size pieces
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dry ginger
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- palmful chopped parsley and cilantro
- 1/2 preserved lemon
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 8-10 artichoke bottoms
- 1 carrot (optional)
Cooking in a Tajine
Dice the onion and add to the bottom of the tajine along with the olive oil. Turn the heat to low and begin to cook the onions.
In a bowl mix together the meat, spices, parsley, and cilantro with the 2 Tbsp olive. When everything is combined well, add to the tajine spreading out the meat as much as possible to cook evenly.
Add the artichoke bottoms to the mix, slide them in between the pieces of meat. If you are using a carrot you can clean it, and cut it into equal size sticks or rounds. Mix everything in the tajine bottom a little bit to coat with some of the spice mixture.
Next, add 1 1/2 cups of water to the tajine pot distributing it evenly.
Cover the tajine and cook on low to medium heat for about two hours. You will want to check the liquid level on occasion adding more water if it dries out. The meat should be falling apart tender when the tagine is ready.
In the last 10 minutes, add the peas and cook to warm through. You can also add the preserved lemon, in the end, to impart some of the flavors - either cut the lemon into strips or quarters.
Cooking in a Pressure Cooker
In a pressure cooker add the 1/4 cup olive oil (omit the extra 2 Tbsp) along with the diced onion, spices, parsley, cilantro, and beef.
Cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes to brown the meat and start softening the onions.
Add enough water to cover the meat and about 1 inch more. Put the cover on the pressure cooker and cook for approximately 30 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the heat, release the steam and remove the cover.
Add the peas, artichokes and carrot (optional) as well as the preserved lemon. Place the cover back on the pressure cooker and put back on medium heat an additional 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, release pressure again and check the liquid level. If there still is quite a bit continue to cook until a thick sauce forms. Transfer to a serving plate.
Cooking in a Pot or Dutch Oven
Add the 1/4 cup olive oil (omit the extra 2 Tbsp) along with the diced onion and begin to saute on low-medium heat. Toss the meat with the spices, parsley and cilantro, and then add to the pot after 3-4 minutes. Brown meat on all sides.
Add enough water to cover the meat and a little more. Place the lid on the pot and cook on low heat for 60-90 minutes. Check the meat and if still tough add more liquid as needed and continue to cook.
Around the 90 min - 2 hour (will depend on the thickness of the meat you are using) add the artichokes and peas. Cook uncovered for approximately 20 minutes until everything is fork-tender and a thick sauce remains in the pan.
You can substitute water for beef broth if you want a deeper flavor. I find that especially when cooking in a pot or dutch oven the broth really helps strengthen the flavor that can otherwise cook off a bit.