This delicious artichoke & peas Moroccan lamb tagine recipe is a springtime classic usually available from March onwards. It can be prepared in a pressure cooker, conventional pot or a traditional Moroccan clay tagine. Today I will share the pressure cooker or conventional pot method.
Moroccans are big fans of using seasonal fruits and veggies in their cooking. As Muslims, we are firm believers that Allah SWT has not created anything without a purpose. So, if Allah SWT has blessed us with a certain fruit or vegetable in a particular season or time of year, I believe, there must be a beneficial gain from it for us somewhere down the line Insha Allah.
Benefits Of Artichoke
Although often considered a vegetable, artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) are a type of thistle.
This plant originated in the Mediterranean and has been used for centuries for its potential medicinal properties. Its alleged health benefits include lower blood sugar levels and improved digestion, heart health, and liver health.
Artichokes are packed with powerful nutrients, low in fat and rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are particularly high in folate and vitamins C and K, they also supply important minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
One medium artichoke contains almost 7 grams of fiber, which is a whopping 23–28% of the reference daily intake (RDI).
These delicious thistles come with only 60 calories per medium artichoke and around 4 grams of protein, which is above average for a plant-based food. To top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables.
Getting The Kids Involved
Cooking in Morocco during spring is always a joy. My kids really enjoyed picking all the peas out from their pods in the stah (an outside terrace situated on the roof of a Moroccan house) and they had no idea what was hidden in the heart of the artichoke or where to start in ripping it down. Peeling off the outer leaves one by one felt very much like a game of pass the parcel 😉
It gave them a good knowledge of natural, whole ingredients, an active experience of a simpler way of cooking in addition to patience and awareness of Allah’s sustenance and rizq being hidden in the most unexpected places.
Fresh Or Frozen Artichokes?
In Morocco and here in Turkey they have fresh artichoke hearts already prepared and sold in saltwater in the Markets. If you can’t get hold of prepared fresh ones, here is a link on how to clean fresh artichokes. Fresh artichokes are so much more tastier than the frozen or jarred/tinned options. Any food eaten in the most natural form gifts you with the best of its nutrition and value masha Allah.
Try Different Variations Of This Artichoke Tagine
This artichoke & peas Moroccan lamb tagine wasn’t exactly a childhood favourite of mine, it is one I grew more fond of through time. So as a kid, I was thankful for the peas in this traditional recipe and my mum adding potato to it. This tagine is fragrant with fresh ginger, preserved lemon, olive oil, garlic and saffron. Feel free to add some baby potatoes, broad beans, cardoons (which are also in season at this time) or olives as well as peas & artichoke to this Moroccan lamb tagine. Actually artichoke can be seen available in the markets from Autumn time all the way through to spring, so it can be paired accordingly to what is also available at the time. You may also substitute the lamb with beef or goat if you wish, or even try going all vegetarian and add no meat at all.
Good Pressure Cooker Options
when choosing a pressure cooker it’s good to keep in mind the size of your family and how much food you would like to cook in one go. I have a large family and I prefer to cook more to cover me the next day at least, if I can’t freeze it. Then buy a pressure cooker the right size for you and your family. Also bare in mind the ease of cleaning the product and the quality of handles. The handles are user friendly for both right and left handed individuals.
Prestige Pressure Cooker, 6.5 L, Silver$84.95
Prestige Deluxe Plus Aluminum Pressure Cooker, 3 Liter$51.88
Prestige 2L Alpha Deluxe Induction Base Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, 2.0-Liter$43.99
Prestige Deluxe Stainless Steel Mini Handi Pressure Cooker, 3.3-Liter$53.45
Culina One-Touch Pressure Cooker. Stovetop, 6 Qt. Stainless Steel With Steamer Basket$99.99
Kuhn Rikon DUROMATIC Pressure Cooker 8.75” 5.3 qt best seller family of 4 two handles for stability$299.99
Peas & Artichoke Moroccan Lamb Tagine
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 kilo Lamb (on the bone) or any meat of your choice, cut into 3-4" pieces
- 2 Medium Onions (chopped)
- 3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped, grated or pressed)
- 2 tsp Fresh Ginger (finely chopped or grated)
- 2-3 tsp Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Crushed Black Pepper Corns to taste
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Saffron Threads (crumbled)
- ½ cup Fresh Parsley chopped
- ½ cup Fresh Coriander chopped
- 1 Preserved Lemon (sliced in strips) optional if you don't have preserved lemon use ½ lemon juice in stew & add with spices
- 1 cup Olive oil
- ½ kilo Fresh or Frozen Peas
- 1 kilo Fresh or Frozen Artichoke Hearts
- Combine the meat, onions, garlic, olive oil, herbs and spices (except for the saffron threads) into a pressure cooker or wide & heavy conventional pot. Cook over medium heat, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Turn the meat over while stirring to ensure all sides are browned.
- When the meat is browned, add about 3 cups of water to the pot & 2-3 preserved lemon strips if using then cover. If using a pressure cooker, close the pressure lid and apply the whistle top and increase the heat to high until pressure is achieved with the whistling. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook with pressure for 25 minutes.
- If using a conventional heavy pot, after adding the water, cook over high heat until the water is boiling then cover and let simmer cook for 30 to 60 minutes depending on your meat type & size. Just make sure the meat is super soft but not separating from the bone.
- Release the pressure from the pressure cooker by removing the whistle (I speed up this process by placing the pressure cooker under a cold running tap) Then remove the lid. I like to check the meat at this point. If it's too soft to continue cooking with the veggies I remove it and place it on a plate to add back in later. If it's not too soft and can handle more cooking, I leave it in.
- Add the peas, artichoke hearts and crushed saffron threads. If the liquid in the pot is not level with the vegetables, add a little more water. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Cook until the liquid is boiling, then cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender & sauce is at the right consistency.
- If you are using a pressure cooker, you do have the option of bringing it back to pressure with the veggies for only a further 12 to 15 minutes, however, I don't find it easy to get the right sauce consistency this way as you would if cooking in a traditional clay tagine. This method tends to leave the sauce slightly more runny. If this happens, you will have to simmer for longer to reduce the liquid or until a rich sauce has formed. And this defeats the purpose of trying to save time and also may overcook the veggies! So, in conclusion, it's best to save time in cooking the meat under pressure in a pressure cooker but then simmer the veggies over a low heat for that perfect texture and consistency of the sauce. The results will taste just as good as cooking it in a real traditional clay tagine!
- There are 2 main ways to serve this, the first is to place the succulent meat pieces in the middle of the plate and circle the artichoke hearts all around it, spoon the stew sauce over the meat and artichoke filling the artichoke cups with the soft stewed peas. you may garnish by placing a sliced preserved lemon over each artichoke cup.
- Or you can serve a meat layer first, then top it with the artichoke hearts filled with peas.