Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Moroccan Beef Tagine with Honey, Apricots and Butternut Squash

I recently received a gift card from ShopRite to do some holiday grocery shopping, and discovered that ShopRite had a huge selection of Kosher meats that were perfect for Passover. I picked up a cut of Kosher pot roast, that looked to be perfect for cooking for a holiday meal. I decided to use it in preparing a moroccan beef tagine, a lovely, cinnamon and fruit flavored Moroccan dish that is named after the type of pot it is traditionally cooked in. When we were in Paris last summer, I had hoped to try some of the tagines at many of Paris's Northern African restaurants but we didn't have time, and the one I had really wanted to try was closed for August vacation.  Never mind, it's actually not that hard to make at home, and you will have plenty of leftovers from this meal to avoid having to cook the next night. This would be perfect with couscous, which I left out since it's Passover now. The process for cooking the meat, as well as the high quality cut of Kosher pot roast from ShopRite that I used resulted in a very tender dish. Yum! This is perfect for just about any holiday meal, and was a big hit with my husband.

Sasha's Beef Tagine
2 lb lean pot roast or shoulder roast
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
pinch of saffron threads
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried apricots, halved
2 T honey
1/4 tsp pepper
1 granny smith apple peeled and diced
1/3 cup almond slivers
2 cups chopped butternut squash

Cut the beef pot roast or shoulder roast into 1 1/2 inch cubes using a butcher's knife. Place in a bowl. Mix 1 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon with the ginger, salt, coriander and turmeric (be careful, as turmeric stains), and toss to coat the meat. Add 3 T of olive oil to your dutch oven and cook the mean until browned on all sides over high heat, for about five minutes. Add the diced onions and cook over medium heat for about three minutes, before adding the garlic and cooking for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock and saffron, and bring the mixture to a boil. I used a bottle of lovely Spanish saffron brought home from Madrid. Bring to a boil and the reduce to medium low, and cook, covered, for about an hour and a half, until cooked through and tender.

Strain out the meat/tomatoes/onion and reserve the broth. Return the broth to the pot. Add the apricots (after soaking the apricots first in hot water for half an hour). Add the butternut squash and diced apple, as well as 2 tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of cinnamon. I have some great honey that was made by a family friend who raises his own bees and makes his own honey, so I used that. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is tender (but not mushy) and the sauce thickens a bit. Then add the beef back to the dutch oven. Serve hot.

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