Sea, Sun and Spring veggies

April 2nd, 2012 § 2 comments

For a blink, Petit Tom and I teleported ourselves in the middle of Moroccan Spring and It felt like heaven after all those long dark winter days inside…

What a joy to watch Petit Tom avidely laying out his eyes on the breaking waves of the Atlantic ocean for the 1st time,…

Or just to sit side by side, laughing anf babbling, on the terasse in the afternoon shade,…

Before finally pigging out on super fresh fish and all these delicious spring veggies and fruit that we will still have to long for a while back in NL: the first strawberries, tiny zucchini, tender green peas and mini artichokes…

Spring tajine with veal, artichokes and green peas

Until I blink again, here’s a taste of my Moroccan spring with this delicious spring tajine with veal, green peas and baby artichokes that I’ve been saving you since last spring… (and the delicious pea shell soup you can cook with all the pod shells you will end up with afterwards)

Spring tajine with veal, artichoke and green peas
Tajine printanier de veau aux artichauts et petits pois

serves 6 pers. prep: 20 min. cook: 1hr 15min

. 1.2 kg veal to stew (Preferably cuts which are not too lean and will stay nicely tender, like the ribs), cut into ~ 5×5 cm pieces;
. 1 onion, peeled and chopped;
. 2 shallots, peeled and chopped;
. 800g mini artichokes ( I used the purple ones, ‘violets’ in French ), external leaves and stems removed*, reserved in water seasoned with lemon juice to avoid browning;
. 1 kg fresh green peas in their pods, shelled (yields ~ 400 g peas; you can use the pods for a soup – see recipe below);
. 1/2 preserved lemon**, thoroughly rinsed to remove excess salt, pulp removed and thinly chopped;
. 1 handful parsley, finely chopped;
. 1 tsp ground ginger;
. 1 pinch saffron;
. 30 cl veal stock (water will also do);
. 5 Tsp olive oil;
. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven/cocotte and brown the meat on all sides for about 5 minutes on medium to high heat (I usely proceed I two batches not to overcrowd the pan).

. Add the chopped onions and shallots, half of the parsley, the spices, a quart of the preserved lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well to mix the flavors and cook a couple more minutes until the fragrances begin to invade your kitchen.

. Pour stock until the meat is barely covered and lower the heat. Simmer covered on low heat for 45 minutes, tossing from time to time.

. Toss in the artichokes halves, peas, and the rest of the chopped preserved lemon, adjust seasoning and simmer covered for 15 more minutes.

. Reserve the meat and vegetables on a warm serving dish and reduce the sauce on medium to high heat to thicken it to your liking. Pour over the veal, artichokes and peas, sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

Pea shells

Pea shells’ soup
Soupe de cosses de petits pois

serves 4 pers. prep: 10 min. cook: 20 min.

. 1 shallot, peeled and chopped;
. ~600 g pea shells (from 1 kg fresh green peas in their pods);
. 1 Tsp olive oil or 1 knob butter;
. ~ 75 cl water or vegetable stock;
. Optionnal: 5 to 10 cl whipping cream; 1 squeeze of lemon juice
. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

. Pan fry the pea shells with a chopped shallot in a little olive oil or butter for a couple minutes.

. Cover with a light stock or water and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender for about 20 minutes.

. Blend until smooth and strain to discard possible strings. To your liking, add a little creme fraiche, whipping cream and/or lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning.

Bon appétit!


* Here’s a handy how-to-trim-artichokes video
** Preserved lemons can generally be found in oriental deli’s. Otherwise they are pretty easy and fun to make yourself as you can read on Food Gal’s blog. Preferably use organic lemons since the rind will be eaten. You can use fresh organic lemon rind and some lemon juice as a substitute. In that case, add all the lemon in the beginning instead.

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