Sunday, 23 November 2014

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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