Moroccan beef tajine
A comforting stew to help you warm up on those cold days.
I’m going to show you the beef I cooked up in my tajine last week. After a phone call to my housebound son in blizzardy New York, I thought that for my readers in cold countries, a spicy Mediterranean stew is the sort of warming, comforting dish that you want when you look out the window and it’s all snow whirling out there. Tajine is welcome in any weather.
For me, beef has to be very well seasoned. In addition, there have to be at least three vegetables in the pot. North African tajines, those long-cooking, rich stews simmered in a clay platter with a conical top, are ideal then. Lacking the traditional tajine setup, you can cook this stew in a large pot set over low heat, and it will be delicious.
Notes: For convenience, use canned chickpeas. Just rinse and drain them before cooking.
Non-traditional but very delicious is 1/2 cup dry red wine as part of the cooking liquid.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 pounds stewing beef, chopped into 2″ pieces
- 1 large onion, thickly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 large tomato, peeled and quartered
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3-4 cup water or stock, to cover meat
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 large potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 medium butternut squash, quartered
- 1/2 small head cabbage, quartered
- 2 honey or silan date honey
- Fresh cilantro or parsley to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the beef. Let the meat brown over medium heat, turning it over often. Add the onions, garlic, tomato and all the dry spices, stirring to coat the meat, onion and tomatoes with the spices.
Add water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour with the lid on. If using wine, add it now.
Add the chickpeas and the remaining vegetables. Cook for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables and meat over occasionally to ensure even cooking.
Five minutes before serving, add the honey or silan. Taste and add salt or pepper as desired.
Pile couscous or rice onto a large serving dish and push it to the edges to make a space in the center. Spoon the tajine into the center and sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.
Put a bowl of the cooking liquid on the table for people to spoon over their food. Enjoy!