This weekend Paul has been feeling a bit under the weather, and after a few too many bland 'sick meals' of rice and bananas noted that his taste buds were crying out for flavor. I responded with this warmly spiced Beef and Apricot Tangine. Two bowls in, Paul claimed optimism about his imminent recovery. North African tangines are traditionally cooked in an eponymous earthenware pot and often rather complex. By virtue of the necessity of (calmly and serenely) cooking between gleeful crawling baby and voluble toddler chatter, our simplified take of a Beef and Apricot Tangine takes inspiration from Morocco's tangines, while simplifying the cooking process and ingredient list. This stew is rich in texture, deeply spiced, and a lovely balance of sweet and sour; a perfect late February weekend meal.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 1 1/2 pounds beef stew chunks (cut into bite sized cubes)
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon dried ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (or two cups fresh diced tomatoes)
- 1 (16 oz) can cooked chickpeas (or 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas)
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a small bowl, or zip-top bag, toss together the beef chunks with salt and pepper until they are evenly coated.
Add the olive oil to a medium thick-bottomed soup pot, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, distribute the beef chunks evenly across the pan. Cook the beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes until all the pieces are browned on all sides.
Add the onions to the pot with the beef, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for an additional 5-10 minutes until the onions have softened and just started to brown. Stir frequently to keep from sticking.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining spices (paprika, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, garlic, and coriander). Once the onions have started to brown, add the mixed spices to the beef and onion mixture, and mix in thoroughly. Cook for 30 seconds while stirring frequently, as the spices can burn.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, apricots, and carrots to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one and a half hours. You are looking for the beef to become tender and the carrots to cook through.
Remove the tangine from the heat, taste. and adjust salt if necessary. Serve, generously garnished with parsley, over rice, couscous, or with bread. We ate ours with pearl or Israeli couscous.