A Hearty Tangine Bursting With Flavor

Many people aspire to eat more nutritious foods in an effort to take charge of their overall health. For some, this may include turning to fresh vegetables and plant-based protein sources with greater frequency. While it may seem like a trend, vegan and vegetarian eating can have many benefits, even if people do not completely give up meat and other animal products.

This recipe for “Artichoke, Baby Potato & Preserved Lemon Tangine” from “ Casablanca: My Moroccan Food” (Firefly Books) by Nargisse Benkabbou, is a tangine, which is a North African type of stew/casserole that gets its name from the traditional earthenware pot in which it is usually cooked. While it often is comprised of various meats, this version puts tangy vegetables and fruit on notice.

Artichoke, Baby Potato & Preserved Lemon Tangine
Serves 4

10 fresh or ready prepared frozen globe artichoke bottoms (1 lb, 5 ounces)
1⁄2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3⁄4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
11⁄4 cups vegetable stock
14 ounces baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 small preserved lemons, flesh and rind finely chopped
3⁄4 cup frozen peas
2⁄3 cup drained red-brown olives, such as Kalamata
Roughly chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
Crusty bread or couscous, to serve

1. If using fresh artichokes, first pull off the outer leaves of each artichoke until you reach the soft, pale petal-like inner leaves. Cut off the soft inner leaves, just above where they join the stem. Using a knife, carefully cut off the stem leaving about 1 inch, then pare the stem and base, discarding any thick remnants from the outer leaves. Now. you are left with a hairy artichoke bottom. Use a spoon or knife to scrape out the fuzzy center. Once the artichoke bottoms are cleaned of any leaves, remnants and hairs, rub a little bit of lemon juice over the artichokes to prevent them from turning brown, then place in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Rinse and drain before using.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until they are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper, and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then re-cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 30 minutes to create a broth.

5. Add the potatoes, artichoke bottoms and preserved lemons and bring to a boil over high heat. Re-cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes until the artichoke bottoms and the potatoes are cooked through and soft. There should be enough liquid in the pan to almost cover the artichoke bottoms and potatoes; if not, pour in just enough water to do so.

6. Throw in the peas and leave to simmer for about 3 minutes until tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary. Scatter the tangine with olive and garnish with chopped cilantro, then serve warm with a side of crusty bread or couscous.

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