Thursday, February 23, 2012

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Couscous

When a food stylist friend gave me this recipe of course I had to try it. Thanks Kim!

I have a recipe similar to this one that I make from the Fields of Greens cookbook. It is a North African Vegetable Stew.  This Moroccan stew is not vegetarian. Even though I am not a red meat eater I actually liked this stew a lot. I preferred the vegetables and the broth with lots of the couscous. 

The dish is easy to prepare and your whole house will smell for days of aromatic spices from exotic lands. Or as my son says “whats that smell?” with a squished up nose. You get my drift. Well to me it smelled divine and I felt transported to Morocco while eating it.

cumin seeds and coriander

Here you see the spices, whole coriander and cumin seeds being toasted. There are a few ways of toasting seeds and the preferred method for me is to use a pan on top of the stove. That way I can babysit them and adjust the heat as needed. As we all know toasting seeds in the oven can be disasterous. You put them in the oven go do a hundred things around the house and then you smell them and start screaming and running to the kitchen like a crazy person. Oh you don't do that? Never mind! 

Spices are expensive, as well as nuts, so when I toast I don’t leave the stove. It really doesn't take long plus I like to do a lot of swirling of the pan to insure even browning. The oils come out when toasting adding a depth to the flavor of your dish.

This salt I splurged on at a local specialty store. It is FalkSalt from Sweden. I don’t salt my food a ton when preparing just lightly. When I serve a meal I put some salt in a small bowl and have the guests salt their own food. To me seasoning is a preference. I may adjust the seasoning to my taste buds and it will not match the taste buds of my guests. Plus a community salt bowl is a nice touch. I like to garnish with a sprinkling of salt. Today there are so many exciting salts and this one I had to try. It is in a flake form from pure Mediterranean sea water. The packaging is gorgeous as well. 

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Couscous

1 Tbsps vegetable oil
2 lbs beef chuck, cubed or stew meat from butcher
2 onions, chopped coarse
4 lg carrots, peeled and chunked
4 lg parsnips, peeled and chunked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick piece, 6-inch
2 Tbsps cumin seeds, toasted and ground**
2 tsps coriander seeds, toasted and ground**
2 Tbsps all purpose flour
1 28 oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 can chick-peas, drained 
1/2 cup raisins
Parsley, finely snipped or chopped for garnish
couscous-prepare according to package directions

In a dutch oven heat oil over medium-high  heat. Add beef cubes in batches and cook stirring adding a bit more oil if needed to prevent sticking. Transfer to platter or bowl.

Reduce heat to medium . Add onions, carrots, parsnips to pan and cook, stirring for about 7 minutes. Add garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and toasted seeds and cook for one minute while constantly stirring.
Add flour and cook for another minute. 

Add tomatoes, paste, stock and wine and bring to a boil, stirring. Here is where the thickening happens. Salt to taste.

Now place all ingredients* into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4 hours.

*When I slow cook stews I do not keep the vegetables in the whole time. The meat will be tender and the veges will be overcooked. Play it by ear. Usually about 1/4-1/2 of the time will do. 

When stew is done, before serving, add cayenne to lemon juice and dissolve. Add to stew. Garnish with parsley and salt flakes if desired.

One raisin left

No comments:

Post a Comment