In this Moroccan tagine, the addition of fennel (bisbas or besbas in 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.
This recipe has been adapted for cooking in a pressure cooker. The cooking time reflects a Moroccan preference for peas stewed until very tender, allowing them to fully absorb the flavorful sauce. Double the cooking times indicated if using a Dutch oven or pot.
Serves 4 to 6.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) lamb, beef or goat
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) peas
- 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) fennel bulbs, halved or quartered*
*To prep the fennel for cooking, peel off the outer layer or two from the bulbs, and cut off the thickest part (but not all) of the base before halving or quartering them.
Put the meat, onions, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and spices (except for the saffron) into a pressure cooker. Stir to mix well.
Cook over medium to medium-high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring several times to turn the meat and brown it on all sides.
Add about three cups of water, cover the pressure cooker, and increase the heat to high. When pressure has been achieved, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
Release the pressure and add the peas. Cover, bring back to pressure and cook for 10 minutes.
Release the pressure and add the fennel bulbs and saffron. If the peas are not fully covered in liquid, add a little more water. Cover, bring back to pressure and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fennel is tender. (Larger pieces of fennel will require the full 15 minutes; smaller or more narrow pieces a bit less time.)
Release the pressure, and check for seasoning. If necessary, reduce the liquids until a rich sauce has formed.
Serve with Moroccan bread for scooping up the meat and vegetables.