Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moroccan Beef Tagine

An easy one today. Slow cooker, stove top or oven capable. Easy prep and easy to throw together and forget about.

(Slightly adapted from French Tart's recipe)

2-3 lbs beef chuck, trimmed of fat & cubed
1 large onion, peeled & quartered
5-7 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped coarsely
12 oz carrots, peeled & sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
4 oz of dates, pitted but kept whole (17 actual dates for me)
6 oz of prunes, pitted but kept whole (20 actual prunes for me)
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons Ras el hanout spice mix (or 2 teaspoons cumin powder, 2 teaspoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon turmeric) (or if your'e REALLY into it, try this recipe. It's much more involved.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 ounces toasted sliced almonds
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

Since our slow-cooker is kind of a pain, I've been using a regular pot and putting it in the oven for most of my slow cooking needs. I find it works really well and I can adjust time and temp easier. I feel that the lower and slower you cook this particular meal, the better, so if you're using a crock pot, I'd say low for 6 hours. Even 8 hours would be fine. I do mine at 225F for 6-8 hours in the oven. I've also done this on the stove top, and with a little more attention (just stirring more often) over low heat, it has also turned out very well. 


The beauty of a slow cooker recipe is that you can toss everything in whenever you want. The order doesn't matter at all so I'll just recount the order I did it in.

Start by peeling and slicing 12 oz of carrots (I used 8 medium/small regular carrots). They don't have to be perfect, just similarly sized. You can do these larger if you want, I just like them small for my daughter to be able to handle. 

Chuck them into the pot.

Grab your beef and preheat a skillet with some olive oil in it.

Cube the beef into big chunks. I like to either freeze the beef for about 30 minutes, or if frozen, semi-thaw and it's really easy to cut. 

Brown the chunks slightly. Don't over-do it, just get some color on them.

Chuck the beef into the pot.

Cut up a large onion into chunks.

Throw them into the same pan that the beef was in. Get some color on each side.

Chuck them into the pot along with the garlic.

Add the beef stock, cinnamon stick, honey, tomatoes, dates and prunes. 

Add the Ras al hanout. (I actually did make the long form of this, but I only used 1/4 tsp of cayenne)

Give everything a stir. Don't be tempted to add more liquid. Plenty will be released as it cooks.

I check on the pot every 2 hours and give it a stir. You'll see everything start to come together after a few hours. The sauce will continue to darken and everything will break down very nicely.

This is mine after 4 hours:

If the sauce is too runny by the 4th hour or so, I remove the lid and let it cook until the sauce thickens up, checking it every hour. If for some reason the sauce level gets too low, put the lid on and add a little water. But if that's happening, the oven's too hot and it's probably done anyway.

This is mine after 6 hours:

(Two hours with the lid off. You can't really tell in the picture, but the sauce is a bit darker in color. Yum.)

This is a good time to check for salt and pepper. It will likely need some, but be careful.

If you still have time, let it keep cooking, as even though it's completely edible at this point, I've found that the longer it cooks the better it is, but this is totally up to your schedule. Also consider the more it cooks, the more it breaks everything down. If you want a heartier stew, pull the whole thing much earlier. This is another reason why I recommend checking in on it until you know exactly how you like it.

When you're ready to serve, ***REMOVE THE CINNAMON STICK***, fire up some couscous and maybe grab some Indian-style flatbread and dig in. You can add a little of the Ras el hanout to the couscous for an added kick if you like.

Garnish with toasted almonds and chopped cilantro.



  1. You should really give "French Tart" some credit for this recipe.

  2. Yeah, her recipes are pretty awesome. I always give credit.

  3. Thanks, this was a great easy to follow recipe -- I used a slow cooker. What I liked was the fact that you made measurements, i.e. 8 medium carrots, easy to follow.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Hope you enjoyed it!


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