Saturday, April 14, 2018

Moroccan-Style Beef Stew with Chickpeas and Couscous

Don't let the long ingredients deter you from making this dish. Ras el Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend that, like Indian curry powder or garam masala, can vary in its ingredients depending on who makes it. In this version, I made a spice combination derived from about a half dozen recipes that I found online and in my cookbook collection. I used beef in this stew, but you can also substitute with lamb. And, of course, a light couscous on the side is the perfect accompaniment to soak up all that incredibly aromatic sauce.

Ras el Hanout Moroccan Spice Blend:
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. mace
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes & patted dry with paper towels
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 medium carrots, diced
5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 15-oz. can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I like to use the stems)
Zest of 1 lemon, about 2-3 tsp.
4 cups water
1 tbsp. Harissa
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tbsp.)
1 small cucumber, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. honey

1. Add all the spice blend ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

2. Season the cubed beef with salt & pepper; set aside.

3. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, season with a little salt and pepper, and saute until lightly browned. 

4. Add the seasoned beef and chopped garlic and saute until the beef is browned on all sides. 

5. Add the spice blend and toss to coat the meat mixture. Stir in the carrots, tomatoes, olives, raisins, chopped cilantro stems, and lemon zest. Add the garbanzo beans.

6. Add 4 cups of water, the Harissa, tomato paste, and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender. Taste & adjust for seasonings (salt & pepper).

7. In the meantime, make the couscous: place 1 cup of couscous in a medium bowl; pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over the couscous. Stir lightly then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let sit for 20 minutes or until the couscous is rehydrated. Fluff the couscous lightly with a fork, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use. 

8. To serve: you can either serve the stew over the couscous or serve them in separate bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. 

Lemon zest, chopped cilantro, tomatoes, carrots, garlic and onion. 

Garbanzo beans (chick peas), ground cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, turmeric, 
coriander, paprika, cinnamon and ginger. 

 Garbanzos, golden raisins, Harissa paste, and kalamata olives.

Beef chuck roast. 

Kalamata olives, chopped. 

Beef chuck roast, cut into large dice. 

Saute onions in 3 tbsp. olive oil; season with salt and pepper.  

Add the beef and chopped garlic. 

Stir in the spice blend. 

Stir in the carrots, tomatoes, olives, raisins, garbanzo beans, 
chopped cilantro stems, and lemon zest.

 Add the garbanzo beans.

 Add 4 cups of water, the Harissa, tomato paste, and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; 
stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer; 
cover and cook 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender. 

For the couscous: chopped cilantro, tomato, cucumber and lemon juice. 

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