"Long before the whole world immersed itself in the vegan trend, I don't think it ever crossed my mind whether my food was vegan or not. To be honest, the majority of the tagines I've eaten all my life have contained either meat or chicken, but I have also regularly gone for meatless options just because that's what I fancied eating. Which is why I love to make a vegan version of this classic tagine – it's so good that no one notices the absence of meat. Depending on the season, it might be hard to find fresh artichokes, so feel free to use frozen ones for this recipe."
Make Nargisse Benkabbou’s artichoke, baby potato, and preserved lemon tagine
This Moroccan recipe from Nargisse Benkabbou's Casablanca cookbook isn't just a fresh and filling tagine capable of feeding a family: it's vegan, too
Preparation time 45 minutes
Cooking time 90 minutes
- 10 fresh or ready-prepared frozen globe artichoke bottoms (600g)
- ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¾ tsp salt, or more to taste
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 400g baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 2 small preserved lemons (60g), flesh and rind finely chopped
- 130g frozen peas
- 100g drained red-brown olives, such as Kalamata
- Roughly chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
- Crusty bread or couscous, to serve
- 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 3cm, 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 a knife to scrape out the fuzzy centre. 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. Rinse and drain before using.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until they are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper and stock. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then re-cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 30 minutes to obtain a broth.
- Add the potatoes, artichoke bottoms and preserved lemons and bring to the boil over a 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.
- 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 tagine with the olives and garnish with chopped coriander, then serve warm with a side of crusty bread or couscous.