My family and I visited Morocco when I was very young and, to be honest, the only things I remember clearly about that trip are the overwhelming heat and the dizzying colours and smells of the twisted cobbled streets leading to the crowded souks.
I certainly don’t remember the food, and that’s a pity because Moroccan cuisine is so much more than tagine.
Being Irish, I’ve really no business experimenting with the wonderful cooking traditions of Africa but hopefully they’ll forgive me just this once because this stew was calling my name ever since I picked up a packet of ras-el-hanout spice mix at the store.
Composition wise, it’s a bit like a chili. You can serve with rice or, like us, eat it straight from the bowl. A dollop of sour cream or garlic yoghurt sauce on top would go down well too if you can handle dairy.
Moroccan Beef & Fig Stew (serves 4)
- 16 oz ground beef
- 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large, white onion, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 tbsps tomato paste
- 3 heaped tsps ras-el-hanout
- 8 dried figs, finely chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsps cumin
- handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tsps lemon zest
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
- Heat the oil/butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, garlic, paprika, cumin and ras-el-hanout. Stir and let cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the beef and cook until it browns, breaking it up with a wooden spoon to get rid of any lumps.
- Stir in the figs, tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Pour in the broth, cover and let simmer very gently over a low heat for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro and lemon zest just before serving.
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