Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moroccan Beef Stew

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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
While it goes against conventional wisdom, I like to serve this stew at least once during the summer season. I love its vaguely Moroccan flavor and I think it is a perfect meal to serve when your palate's in the doldrums and you have a taste for something different and a bit more substantial than standard summer fare. The recipe comes from Family Circle magazine and while I've made some changes to it over time, the recipe that appears below, save for the portions in red, is the one that was first featured in the magazine. I absolutely hate tough stew meat and to avoid it, I often go to extremes that others think unnecessary. The original recipe called for browning and stewing the meat on top of the stove. Over the years, I've become a fan of slow-cooked stews, not those that come from a crock-pot, but those that are the result of cooking in a low-slow oven for a considerable length of time. Even if you bypass this recipe, I hope you try the technique in which meat and vegetables are browned stovetop, but simmered for about 5 hours in a 250 degree oven once the contents of the pot come to a boil. I serve this stew with couscous or rice and a lovely crisp green salad. Here's how this Moroccan-style stew is made.

Moroccan Beef Stew...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Family Circle Magazine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (14.5-oz.) can beef broth
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
Cooked pearl couscous (optional)

1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. In a bowl, toss beef cubes in flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Add half of beef to pot. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining beef.
2) Reduce heat to medium and add onion to pot. Cook 3 to 5 minutes to soften. Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Cook 1 minute. Add a splash of the beef stock; cook 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot.
3) Add broth and bring to a boil. Return beef to pot along with any liquid. Cover and simmer 1-1/2 hours over low heat, or transfer pot to a preheated 250 degrees F oven and bake for 5 hours.
4) Uncover pot and stir in prunes and apricots. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in spinach. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve stew over pearl couscous, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

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Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my, I bet this is SO fragrant!!!!

Rafeeda AR said...

wow... this looks so mouthwatering...

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Hi Mary, I'm with your about liking nice tender flavorful meat! I never thought to slow cook it in the oven. Thanks for the fabulous tip! What a great recipe... quite easy really. I'll be making this very soon... although minus the cinnamon, I'm not in love with that spice with meat.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I think the Moroccan flavours are very suited to a summer stew! It looks delicious.

Angie's Recipes said...

wow Mary, this is beyond delicious!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Your flavours are absolutely gorgeous :D

Choc Chip Uru

pam said...

I love slow cooking in the oven too!

Unknown said...

This is definitely a stew I could eat any time of year. I bet the flavors are amazing!!

David said...

Mary, I'm not much into sweet with my meat dishes...but this recipe is so far out of my wheelhouse, I'd just have to give it a try! Interesting combo of ingredients for sure... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Pondside said...

This sounds very much like a recipe I have from Canadian Living Christmas Ideas from about 1999. I make it once or twice a year and we love it. My recipe doesn't have spinach, but I think it would be an interesting addition. I've tripled the recipe for a buffet and it still works that way.

http://platanosmangoes.com said...

This is for me tender and flavorful...one perfect bite!

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

What an amazing and flavorful stew!

Tricia Buice said...

I am fascinated with the prunes - why I've never thought to put those lovely little things in a stew - I bet they add a nice sweetness and thickening - so delicious looking!

Daniela Grimburg said...

I am a fan of oriental inspired dishes and this recipe looks very tempting.
Apricots and prunes add a delicious flavor to the meat juices, yum!

Susan Lindquist said...

We have fallen in love with the spices and flavours of Northern Africa and the Middle East ... this is right up our alley! I think I might sub in lamb, though ... yummy!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

The stew sounds delicious, Mary. It's great to hear that some else likes to slow cook in the oven. That's my preferred method over a crock pot, too. I like to think that my heavy Dutch oven and my oven become my slow cooker.

Lynne said...

I am making this tomorrow. It looks divine.

Just a thought - have you considered adding a Print option? I'm a great fan of your recipes and a printable version would be greatly appreciated.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Lynne, there is a Print button at the very end of every post.

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