I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them. While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.
I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.
MOROCCAN BEEF TAGINE
For the spice rub:
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
For the tagine:
1 pound stew beer
To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.
Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.
Hummus is one of my favorite food items. I love its versatility; you can serve it as an appetizer, as a between meals snack, or slathered on your favorite bread as part of a sandwich. Despite our geographic location I have yet to find hummus in any of the local markets or grocery store. This doesn’t have to be a deterrent however, since homemade hummus is very easy to make. Garbanzo beans are like a blank slate; their neutral flavor makes them the perfect backdrop for whichever flavors you like. If you love garlic, add more. In lieu of the orange you could also incorporate roasted red peppers for a colorful and flavorful addition. Personally I love the addition of orange juice and orange zest. The hint of citrus adds a bright note to the garbanzo beans.
If you have the time use dried garbanzo beans. You will be able to taste the difference. If you don’t have dried beans or are making the hummus on short notice, go ahead and use canned beans. You will still be happy with the results.
Rinse the garbanzo beans under cool water. Place in a large stockpot, cover with water, and let soak overnight.
Drain the beans, cover with water again and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are tender. Drain and allow to cool.
Place the garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the garbanzo beans and continue to pulse until coarsely chopped. Add up to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help moisten the mixture.
Add the cumin, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, and remaining olive oil to the food processor and pulse until smooth and combined.
Season with salt to taste.
Serve with pita wedges or your favorite dipping items.
I love chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. They add bulk to a soup or stew, make a great base for a chilled salad, and of course are perfect when pureed into a hummus dip. But perhaps my favorite way to eat them is cooked up and by the handful as a snack. Most recipes call for frying the chickpeas until crunchy but I prefer to bake mine. It uses less oil so it is both healthier and the clean up is easier (after all, I want to eat them not clean up my kitchen mess). For this recipe I’ve simply tossed them with cumin and coriander but you can switch up the flavors in other ways too. A simple salt and pepper seasoning is tasty but you could also try a chili and garlic powder mixture. They are sure to be yummy and since they are sure to disappear quickly, why not make a double batch.
CRISPY & SPICY CHICKPEAS
2- 15 ounce cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet, tilting the pan to distribute the oil over the entire surface.
Spread the chickpeas on the pan in an even layer.
Combine the salt, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Evenly distribute the spice mixture over the top of the chickpeas.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, stirring the chickpeas every 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.