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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2008

Moroccan Beef Stew

I'm replacing the Lamb Shank Moroccan Style that I had here with this beef recipe.  The ingredients are essentially the same but it's an easier recipe to work through.  I'd say using the one pound of beef with the measurements of spices as given will give you a bountiful dinner with meat and potatoes left over for another use or a nice meal for two.  (Sorry for the not too attractive picture!)

So, on to the recipe:


1 lb. beef (I used a piece of a raw chuck roast I had cut off and saved from my last pot roast.)

Mix together:
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper

Cut the beef into about  "two-bite sized" chunks, dump in a bowl and sprinkle about a third of the mixed spices over the meat and toss around to start coating each chunk.  Continue sprinkling and tossing til you've used it all.  At this point, you could put the meat in a baggie and refrigerate for several hours or more.  I didn't my first time cause I started the recipe kind of late in the day.

Olive oil
1/2 med. onion - sliced fairly thick
1 good sized garlic clove, sliced very thin or minced
Salt and pepper

Pour some olive oil in the bottom of pan/skillet that you can put in the oven.  Saute and soften the onion and garlic over medium heat trying not to brown it - you want more of a caramel-y look.  Again, add a little salt and pepper.

Once they're nicely cooked, push them over to the side, turn up the heat to medium high or so and add the meat and get it settled in one layer so it can all begin to brown.   Brown well. (here's another bad picture).

Pour in 1/4 c. red wine, 1/2 c. beef stock, and 1/2c. water and quickly cover.  No matter what pans I use for stewing/braising meat in the oven I always use a sheet of tinfoil in addition to the lid.  And I've started using enough tinfoil that I can push it down into the pot/skillet a little.

Bake in a 300deg oven but check in 1/2 an hour or so and if it's bubbling a fair amount, turn the heat down to 275.  After an hour or so of cooking, you can add some potato chunks and smallish pieces of carrot.  Or, as in that original lamb recipe, you can peel and cut up a sweet potato and use that instead (and it was very good in that recipe).  Let it cook at least another hour for the vegetables to get tender - longer if necessary.  That original recipe also said to add a "bit" of preserved lemon (which I happened to have back when I made that one) but I didn't have it this time.

This is very much a recipe to make to your individual taste.  It could easily use extra of all the seasonings if you feel it doesn't have enough oomph.  Maybe taste it when you're adding the vegetables and if it seems less flavorful than you expected, sprinkle in some more of each spice. (although if it tastes very salty [as mine did] don't despair - I told myself the potatoes would absorb some of that salt and they must have because when it was all done, it wasn't too salty at all.

I used my leftovers to make a shepherd's pie type casserole - made a "gravy" from the leftover juices and a thin roux of flour and water, adding water as the juices thickened and also sprinkling in some more of the spices, cut my pieces of carrot a little smaller, added some thawed frozen peas and the chopped up meat and put it in a small casserole dish, smashed up the potatoes with a fork, arranged them on top and brushed them with some melted butter to hopefully make them brown a bit and put it in my toaster oven for probably about 30-40 minutes at 350.  The potatoes didn't seem to want to brown so I finally put it on "broil" for a few minutes.  I think next time, I'll actually mash them - add a little milk and get them smoothed out a little more.

The little pie turned out good enough but I was surprised that it didn't have as much flavor as the first serving.  Could be adding the water to the juices did more than I expected.  I probably should have had a heavier hand when I added the seasonings to the gravy.  But it was good - I sure didn't leave any uneaten! :)

Bon appetit!

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