Today Yajaira and I decided to make Moroccan Beef Tagine submitted by Paul Obarowski. At first glance we thought this recipe was going to be long and complicated. But to our surprise, the recipe was fairly easy to make. Paul is a professional chef. Here is what he wrote about his tagine dish:
A tagine is a dish originating on Earth, specifically North Africa. It is a hearty spicy/sweet stew with a lot of regional spices and aromatics. Couscous is among the healthiest grain-based products. It has a great array of vitamins compared to pasta, containing “twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid” as pasta. Moreover, pasta requires use of more water that will be strained off as waste to be recycled, whereas couscous uses all the water specified with no waste. There is a wide array of healthy fats and proteins from the cashews, beef, and extra virgin olive oil. All in all, this represents a complex-tasting but easy recipe which uses all of the water specified in the recipe and no more.
Yajaira and I found that although the tagine has a long list of ingredients, the process flowed easily. We assembled all that we need ahead of time and had a lot of fun mixing the meat, vegetables, fruit, and spices into this cosmic blend of flavors.
What I found fun and challenging about this recipe by Paul is that he didn’t give us exact measurements for his recipe. Here is what he wrote us:
I often leave out certain ratios and measurements from my recipes. Even though this seems like a small change on paper, it’s a very different way of thinking in the kitchen. To someone with little cooking experience, this can be a bit intimidating. Part of the process of becoming a proficient cook (especially one who might be called upon to improvise with a limited selection on the mission) is freeing oneself from dependency on the cookbooks and becoming more dependent on one’s own sense of seasoning, flavor, and balance. The reason that I write recipes for myself and for others this way also stems from where I work. As a professional chef, I often simply wouldn’t have the time to measure out quantities of individual ingredients, relying instead on what I felt were appropriate quantities and ratios.
2 ½ cups Thrive Freeze-dried Roast Beef with 2 cups water
¼ cup DH Onions with ½ cup water
½ cup DH Bell Peppers Mixed with 1 cup water
2 tbsp Oil, Extra Virgin
2 tbsp dehydrated Garlic
½ cup Dried Apricots
½ cup Raisons
1 cup Cashews
¼ tsp Salt & black Pepper
2 tsp Paprika
½ tsp Cumin
1 tsp Powdered Ginger
1 tsp primario chili pepper
½ tsp Cinnamon
1 Sazon Goya packet
Pinch of Saffron
2 tbsp Honey
1 cup Couscous with 1 ½ cups water
1 tbsp Cilantro
3 cups Basmati rice (made in rice cooker)
2 cups water
Here is a video of us making the tagine. We had a lot of fun putting this together.
- In a large container, reconstitute the beef.
- Rough chop the dried apricots.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, add the garlic and olive oil and set the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot, add the raisins and apricots, covering the bottom of the pot.
- Let them sit there and cook; you’ll want the sugars in these sweet fruits to caramelize. Let the fruit brown without burning.
- Once the fruits have sufficiently been browned, add the dried onions and the dried mixed bell peppers and cook until the onions and peppers begin to develop some color.
- Set the pot to low heat. Add salt and pepper, and stir to coat.
- Add the beef, along with the water. Add cashews, paprika, powdered ginger, sazon goya, cumin, and a 2 tablespoons of honey. Add a pinch of saffron (a little goes a long way), along with chili pepper (or cayenne pepper) and cinnamon.
- Add 2 cups water – make sure your pot has enough liquid so that it doesn’t dry up, and is at a slow simmer, covered.
- Let the tagine cook, covered, at as low heat as your stovetop. It should be starting to thicken to a stew-like consistency. If it’s starting to get too thick too early, add some more water.
- Make the Basmati rice in a rice cooker.
- In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cups of couscous, remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, until the couscous absorbs all of the water. Couscous should be light and fluffy, not stuck together. Remove the lid and lightly salt the couscous, add cilantro, and a 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Fluff with a fork.
- Serve the tagine over the couscous or basmati rice.
We had limited amounts of couscous so we also made basmati rice. The crew enjoyed the meal and there were no leftovers. I highly recommend this dish. It’s quicker then you think, has an amazing aroma and flavors, and you’ll love the taste. Thanks Paul!