So, Marrakesh. The name alone intrigues me, like Bora Bora, Antibes, and Timbuktu. (Yes, Timbuktu really is a real place…just like Tasmania and Tijuana!) Anyway, I saw the gorgeous cover of Andy Harris’ A Month in Marrakesh and as if the name alone wasn’t enough to convince me, there were not one, not two, but three beautiful recipes on the front, and I could barely contain my excitement at diving inside the book. I was sold. If I’m not heading to Marrakesh any time soon, I can at least head there in spirit. Tonight.
I was tempted to make each dish featured on the cover of this book and I pored over each recipe individually. (Especially the spiced kebabs and the refreshing salad that goes with them!) But in the end it had to be the sole tagine dish featured on the cover: Lamb, Artichoke, and Broad Bean Tagine. When I think of Morocco, tagine is always my next thought…the two go together like bread and butter! Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Lamb, Artichoke, and Broad Bean Tagine
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 2 hours
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 kilo (2 pounds) lamb, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) chunks
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
2 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped and cooked (canned is fine, just rinse and drain)
400 g (14 oz) broad beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
Couscous, for serving
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 5-quart pot, Dutch oven, or tagine over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and soften for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the mint, parsley, cilantro, ginger, saffron, paprika, cumin, and coriander seeds, and cook for 5 minutes more. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
Return the lamb back to the pot and add enough water to just cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, put the lid on, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add the artichoke hearts and beans during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Serve with couscous.
• I think beef would be fine to substitute instead of lamb if you prefer.
• I omitted the fresh cilantro (it’s just not my thing).
• Instead of coriander seeds, I used ground coriander (it’s what I had on hand).
• Instead of adding the fresh parsley before cooking, I used it as a garnish after cooking.
• I increased the artichoke hearts to 1 (14 oz/400 g) can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained.
• I used canned broad beans and rinsed and drained them well.
• I added the artichoke hearts and broad beans during the last 20 minutes of cooking, instead of the last 30.
A Month in Marrakesh, Hardie Grant Books, Copyright 2012
This was a solid recipe. The base flavor of this dish was good; it was a nicely spiced, rich, and hearty stew. I have to be honest though; when I think of Moroccan tagines, I think of stews that are not only complex in flavor, but have the perfect balance struck between sweet and savory. This one was lacking the sweet component that often comes in the form of prunes, golden raisins, or some other fruit or sweeter vegetable (like some like of squash or even sweet potato) in Moroccan cuisine. This dish is fine as a different, somewhat exotic take on meat stew, but I was disappointed that it lacked the sweet/savory balance I love so much about many Moroccan tagines.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
I think a tagine definitely deserved to be on the cover, but I would have liked to see a different tagine given the cover spot. There are other tagine recipes in the book that strike a balance between sweet and savory flavors the way Moroccan tagines are known and loved for; I wish one of them had been on the cover instead of this particular recipe.