Thursday, October 8, 2009

An Expected (and Welcome) Moroccan Party in my Mouth

Unlike my horrific experience with the Lamb & Harissa sausage roll (recalled in a previous post in September), I happened to have an out of this world Moroccan experience right in the comfort of my own home. As much as I enjoy a dining out experience, I especially enjoy whipping up a gastronomical storm in my kitchen- much to Junior's delight. This is why I am going to try and include more recipes in this blog.

The following is a recipe for a Moroccan Beef dish, as I had chuck steak on hand but it will definitely be more authentic with lamb. Having said that, the meat can be easily substituted for chicken and even firm white fish, such as snapper or blue eye cod- depending on your preference. My Mum has my tagine currently so I used a large pan on the stove top instead.

Before I start I am going to have to have a good old rant about Ras Al Hanout because I LOVE it so. Ras Al Hanout is a classic Moroccan spice blend and means "Top of the Shop" because traditionally it is a blend of the best spices from the local spice merchant. As a result, Ras Al Hanout can vary from place to place but kudos to Herbie's Spices as they have come up with a scrumptious version. At $9.80 for 40g, it can seem pricey but I can attest that the depth of flavour and aroma is well worth the money. You can buy Herbie's blends from Herbie's Store in Rozelle or online at Gourmet Shopper. I found mine at my local Fratelli Fresh.

Moroccan Beef with Sweet Potato, Herbed Cous Cous & Mint Yoghurt
750g Beef chuck steak- cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 large Sweet Potato- cut into large chunks
1 large Onion- chopped
2 Garlic cloves- finely diced
1 knob Ginger- grated (I used a Microplane- they are the best!)
2 tbs Ras Al Hanout
2-3 cups Beef Stock
1 can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 can Chickpeas (drained and rinsed well to get rid of "tinny" taste)
2 tbs Tomato Paste
Handful chopped Coriander and Flat Leaf Parsley
Zest of 1 Lemon (again Microplane Magic!)
Olive oil

Herbed Cous Cous
1 cup instant cous cous
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped herbs (coriander, mint, parsley)
Olive Oil

Mint Yoghurt
1 cup Greek Style Yoghurt (to cut down the fat you can substitute with Light Yoghurt but I tend to find the texture is not as nice)
Handful chopped Mint
2 tsp Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper
Pinch White Sugar (caster sugar mixes in and dissolves easiest)

1. Make Mint Yoghurt by combining all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Season to taste. Mint yoghurt is best made a couple of hours to a day in advance to let the flavours permeate. It also keeps well in the fridge so you can make extra to use as a dip, use in wraps or add to Indian style dishes- super versatile and tasty.

2. In a large frying pan, heat up some olive oil and brown the beef cubes with some salt & pepper. Make sure the beef is browned well as it adds to the flavour of the dish. Set aside in dish.

3. In the same pan heat a little more olive oil and add onions and garlic. Be careful not to have on a too high heat as you do not want it to brown but go translucent, stirring occasionally. After a couple of minutes add grated ginger, Ras Al Hanout and season with salt & pepper. Cook further to release flavour of the spices and be careful to make sure it doesn't burn. Feel free to add more oil if it looks like it's sticking.

4. Add beef back into the pan with juices and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add sweet potato chunks and chickpeas.

5. Add tin tomatoes and lightly crush with back of spoon so it remains chunky then pour in stock so it's just covered, add lemon zest and season really well with salt & pepper. Turn up heat until you bring to boil.

6. Reduce heat in pan and cover to simmer for about 1.5 hours. Stirring occasionally- as the sweet potato will soak up liquid you may need to add stock from time to time.

7. After about 1.5 hours add tomato paste and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 mins to thicken the sauce.

8. In the meantime boil 2 cups of water and add to 1 cup of cous cous in heat proof bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and cover for 5-8 minutes. After this time stir in chopped herbs.

9. Serve with blanched broccolini. Bon Apetit!

Verdict: Lip-smackingly delicious!

Herbie's Spices
745 Darling Street
Rozelle NSW 2039
Ph: (02) 9555 6035

Fratelli Fresh

1 comment:

  1. yuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm next time you make save me some ;-)


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