“When the wind’s from the east and the sun’s from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian…”
sorry…I was having a Disney moment there… thinking of Morocco makes me think of Epcot, which makes me think of Aladdin. I am not a Disney fanatic, but every now and then I have a moment, and when I do, I am not ashamed! 😀
Ahhh….tagine. Sounds exotic right? Ha. It’s actually really not. It’s just an unfamiliar word used for any dish that would have traditionally been cooked in special earthenware pot called a tagine. It could really be anything: a stew, meat, chickpeas, or a combination. Often served over couscous. The point is, that whatever is in the tagine is being braised for a long period of time, which makes it awesome.
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Braising meat results in flavors that are just unbeatable. It turns tough cuts into fork tender bites, and imparts deep, complex flavors. If I was ever starving, I’m pretty sure I would try braising whatever it was I scrounged up to eat.
You don’t actually need to own a tagine to make a tagine dish. You can just as easily braise in a pot with a lid. Nor do you need a couscoussiere to make couscous. Which is why I have adapted this recipe from Williams Sonoma.
I’m sorry I do not have a pretty picture to share with you of this completed dish at the moment. It is one I make for special occasions and dinner parties because it is impressively tasty, but also requires some effort. But if you need some pictures or recipes that include pictures, try a tagine cookbook:
A picture would not even adequately convey to you how good this Moroccan Beef Tagine with Spiced Couscous is…so get your butt to a grocer that carries Ras El Hanout spice blend so you can make this already!
Moroccan Beef Tagine with Spiced Couscous
- 3 Tbs. ras el hanout
- 1 Tbs. sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 3 lb. boneless chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Syrah
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth, plus more, as needed
- 1 Tbs. honey (optional)
For the Couscous
- 2 cups pearled couscous
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, stir together the ras el hanout, paprika, the 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Rub the mixture over the roast, coating evenly. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and heat until the surface shimmers. Add the beef in batches and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
- Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat in the pan. Add the onion, carrots, squash and garlic, season with salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes and the 1/2 cup stock. Add another pinch of salt.
- Add the meat, pushing it down into the vegetables. Cover the pot with a lid (or at this time transfer it to a tagine), transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
- Stir in the honey, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, prepare the spiced couscous:
- Prepare couscous according to package directions, but adding the turmeric to the cooking liquid. Once cooked, stir in currants, orange zest and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- Divide the spiced couscous among warmed bowls. Top with the beef tagine.