Although the availability of frozen vegetables at supermarkets is slowly increasing, seasonal cooking is still very much the norm in Morocco. Most Moroccans buy fresh local produce from neighborhood souks and vegetable stands, and then build their menus around current offerings. The tagine recipes below all use vegetables which are available in the winter months; some remain in season well into the spring.
Two winter favorites, peas and artichokes, are perfect complements to each other in this Moroccan-seasoned tagine recipe. You can use frozen artichoke bottoms, but in Morocco most home cooks prep their own. See How to Clean Artichoke Hearts and Bottoms.
The addition of fennel (bisbas in Moroccan Arabic) adds delicate flavor and subtle contrast to the classic preparation of lamb with peas, saffron and ginger. Beef or goat may be substituted for the lamb.
Although you may be able to find fennel year-round, it's mostly a winter vegetable. In this classic chicken tagine recipe, it adds subtle anise essence to standard seasoning with ginger, saffron and turmeric. Preserved lemon and olives add traditional flavor.
This is essentially the same dish as the preceding recipe, but the addition of artichoke hearts transforms it from a family meal to a company-friendly dish. Serve Moroccan bread for scooping up the meat, vegetables and sauce.
Because vegetables are key players in this dish, the recipe calls for only half a chicken. The recipe also calls for the use of a traditional clay or ceramic tagine. If you don't own one, browse Where to Buy a Tagine to see what's available online.
As this recipe demonstrates, vegetables can be combined in countless ways to make Moroccan tagines. Here, winter peas are stewed with zucchini and potatoes, which are available year-round. Olives and preserved lemon add garnish and flavor. Preparing the dish in a traditional tagine is recommended, but the recipe also includes instructions for cooking in a conventional pot.