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Moroccan Lamb or Beef Tagine with Cardoons

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Moroccan Tagine with Cardoons

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

Cardoons (khorchouf in Arabic) look like giant celery, but when cooked the stalks taste a bit like artichokes. If you've never eaten cardoon, this tagine recipe is a great one to try. Cardoons and meat are cooked with ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper and preserved lemon to yield a slightly tangy, peppery, and very tasty Moroccan dish. Saffron is optional.

Prep time doesn't include cleaning the cardoons. See How to Clean Cardoon to prepare the stalks for cooking.

Because cardoons take a long time to cook, a pressure cooker is recommended. Double the cooking times below if using a conventional pot.

Please note that despite the visual similarity of cardoons to celery, the two vegetables are not interchangeable as their flavors are quite different.

Also try Chicken Tagine with Cardoons.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) meat, cut into 3- or 4-inch pieces
  • 1 or 2 large bunches of cardoon, pared and cleaned
  • 1 onion, chopped medium
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 tomato, grated
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/8 teaspoon Moroccan colorant)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 preserved lemon, cut into quarters
  • handful of red olives, rinsed

Preparation:

Set aside the cleaned cardoon, olives and preserved lemon.

Mix the meat with the remaining ingredients in a pressure cooker. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring several times to brown the meat on all sides.

Add the cardoons and 3 1/2 to 4 cups (1 liter) of water, and cover the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high until pressure is achieved.

Reduce the heat to medium, and cook with pressure for 1 hour. Release the pressure, and check the cardoons to see if they are tender – you should be able to pinch the cardoon pieces in half.

If the cardoons need additional cooking, remove the meat to a plate and cover. Add a little water to the pressure cooker if necessary (the liquids should be level with the cardoons) and continue cooking on pressure until the cardoons are tender. This could take an additional 30 minutes if the cardoon stalks were quite large.

When the cardoons have fully cooked, return the meat to the pot. Add the olives and preserved lemon, and simmer uncovered to reduce the sauce until it is thick and well below the level of the cardoons.

Transfer the cardoons, meat and sauce to a large platter or tagine, and serve with crusty bread.

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