Thank you to everyone who submitted to the first-ever cooking is messy giveaway. Congratulations go to Meg, and her comment about Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma! That is a really great book, and one any food-lover should consider. So this weekend, I will be sending Meg her copy of Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin. Before moving to the recipe, let me tell you just a bit about Meg. She is incredibly well-read and knowledgeable about books. Her blog, A Bookish Affair, has great reviews of all kinds of books (my favorite are the ones on historical fiction). And, she posts all the time! Seriously, many times a week. I’m always impressed by how often there is a new post. You all should check her out!
Now, back to cooking. For today’s post, I’m offering a recipe that is perfect for these cold days we’ve been having here in the DC area. This recipe is hearty, filling, and spicy. I guarantee this dish will warm you up. Now, I’ve told you about my tagine before but just in case you don’t remember, it’s a Moroccan earthenware slow cooker. As a kitchen appliance, it’s so pretty. It’s so pretty, I wasn’t sure I’d ever use it. And at first, I was having a hard time with the tagine, that is until my mom and I came across the cookbook Tagines and Couscous.
My mom and I were shopping at a Lecruest outlet store when I spotted the book. The lady who worked in the shop raved about it! She said it was so user friendly and they had made plenty of amazing dishes for their classes and taste tests. We were sold. Literally. Both us got a copy. Now I make this recipe (well, below is my adaptation of it) all the time. Honestly, I make this recipe almost every other week.
I have found some of the ingredients in the book hard to find (like rose water), but, when I really can’t find them, I’ve powered through with the recipe and it has still come out delicious. Also, please don’t be afraid of how many spices this recipe calls for. It’s an investment at first, but I’ve found them to be worthwhile and useful for other recipes. Additionally, If you don’t have a tagine, try this out with a dutch oven.
Finally, I heartily suggest making couscous as a side. You can find couscous in the same aisle as other grains. It’s such a great complement to this dish because it’s buttery and subtle and helps to balance the spiciness of the dish. And believe me, this dish does have some kick.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp honey
2 cups carrots, cut diagonally into 2″ pieces
1 lb lean beef, cut into cubes (I use what Trader Joe’s packages as stew meat)
1 14oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (you can use up to 2 cans if you love chickpeas)
chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)
1. If using a tagine, put the your heat diffuser over the burner. Put the bottom of the tagine on top. Pour in the oil and heat over medium-high until warm.
2. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and honey. Stir to coat the onions and garlic. Let the spices toast a bit, just for 1 minute.
4. Add the carrots. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Make sure they get coated with the spices.
5. Stir in the beef. Saute for about 3 minutes. Make sure you get the beef coated and it has started to brown. It’s ok if it’s 50% brown and 50% pink.
6. Pour in enough water so everything is 50% covered. Bring the water to a boil. Place the cover on the tagine, and turn the heat to low.
7. Let everything simmer in the tagine for 40 minutes.
8. Add the drained chickpeas to the tagine. Stir everything together so the chickpeas also get some seasoning. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
9. Turn off the heat. Make sure the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through. You should have a nice stew-like meal swimming in some spicy broth. Season with salt, if desired. Garnish with cilantro, if you’re using it. Serve over a bed of couscous.
Messy Level: I give this one three spoons because it is undercover messy. Yes, everything is in one pot and that makes it pretty clean. But turmeric is a sneaky nemesis! It makes the liquid yellow and everything that liquid touches will be dyed yellow. If you have cheap counter tops, like I do, you might end up with some stains so please be careful!