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A Moroccan tajine cooks ingredients at length in a cooking liquid and a host of spices, which steadily boils down to produce a thick, luscious sauce with concentrated seasonings. In this case, beef is the centerpiece of the recipe, with a delicious sauce composed of beef stock, cinnamon, honey, ginger, coriander, bay leafs, turmeric, and onions enriching it. But best of all is the addition of walnuts with their pleasant crunch, delightful prunes, and sweet apples themselves sautéed in butter, cinnamon, and honey. Overall, it makes for a dish that perfectly complements the hearty beef with sweetness—the meat hearty and weighty with such exotic flavors, and it's deliciously tender.
I recommend serving this over something such as rice, couscous, or pasta. It not only looks very pretty but provides substance and a balanced meal. Completing the picture might be a vegetable dish on the side.
This recipe is adapted from Tanjia Marrakchia: Culinary Adventures at Dar Les Cigognes by E. P. Lenderking, which has a lot of delicious Moroccan recipes.
- 2 lb beef
- 3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1 apple, cored and cut into wedges, but not peeled
- 6 oz dried prunes
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes or smaller. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or casserole, then add in the 2 tablespoons of cinnamon cinnamon, half of an onion peeled and diced, 2 bay leaves, ginger, salt, pepper, turmeric. Remove from heat, combine the meat with it and make sure the cubes are covered with the spice mixture, then return to heat.
- Over low heat, cook for 10 minutes so that the spice mixture mixes into the meat. Have the cooking vessel uncovered and stir occasionally.
- After 10 minutes, when the beef has been browned and mixed completely with the sauce, add in 2 cups of beef stock. Cover, reduce heat slightly further, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Soak the prunes in water to soften them during this period.
- After 1 hour, add in the prunes, the walnuts, and 3 tablespoons honey. Mix it in, and cook for another 30 minutes over a simmer. The sauce should be reduced to a thick gravy, the meat tender and shot through with flavor.
- In a small separate saucepan, sauté the apple slices with 1 teaspoon honey, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, until they are soft and glazed.
- To serve, in a serving dish preferably place a cereal such as pasta, couscous, or rice on the bottom, then place the meat and sauce over this. Place the apple slices on top of this. Finally, scatter the sesame seeds on top.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas