Quick and Impressive: Moroccan Beef

Question: Hey Jeanie, do you have a great dish for company? I’ve got some friends coming over and would like to serve them a home-cooked meal, but I’ve also got to work all day.
Answer: This meal has pulled it out of the bag for us a number of times. We’ve even served it for Christmas. It’s a variant of a North African dish called “Moroccan Beef.”

Most of the meats I’ve encountered from North Africa are cooked long and slow. They are not cooked in what we would recognize as a slow-cooker, however. The following recipe is my slow-cooker adaptation of a most tasty dish. I’ve tried it with a number of roasts and steak cuts, including tenderized round steak. Seems you just can’t miss on this one.

Moroccan Beef Instructions

  1. If your meat is not already in pieces as stew meat would be, then cut your meat into serving-sized pieces.

  2. For each pound of beef peel and grate one large onion. The onion not only adds flavor, but also thickens the broth because it is grated so finely.
  3. Place the grated onion in a bowl with:
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  4. Mix the seasonings and onion thoroughly.
  5. Toss the onion mixture with the meat in the slow cooker.
  6. Add one cinnamon stick or some cinnamon powder.
  7. Dot the top of the mixture with butter, about three tablespoons.
  8. Pour in about 2 cups of water and cover with one bunch of cilantro, spread over the top.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on how much meat you have in the pot. Six hours is adequate for a pound.
  10. For each additional pound duplicate the amount of seasonings listed here. You don’t want to skimp. The succulence of this dish has been a winner with everyone to whom we have fed it.
  11. In the last hour of cooking add some dried prunes to the pot, about 6 prunes per pound of meat. This may sound strange if you grew up on pizza, but the end result is splendidly flavorful.
  12. When ready to serve, lift off the cilantro and discard. Place the pieces of meat on your favorite serving platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

A nice menu to accompany this meat is a large green salad with vinaigrette dressing and steaming hot quinoa. Check out my tips on selecting salad greens, handling greens, and making your salad dressing. You will also absorb more minerals from the quinoa if you soak it in advance (read about soaking grains).

What we have here is company fare with little work on the part of the cook. Enjoy and rake in the compliments!

5 Responses to Quick and Impressive: Moroccan Beef
  1. great recipe, I will be trying it soon.

  2. I love Moroccan food (many trips to Morocco) and the tajines (slow cooked stews, but also the name of the shallow clay pot used to cook them in).
    In addition to the spices you have listed, cumin is one of the common ingredients used for this dish, as well as a paprika and lemon slices around the meat. Also parsley with the cilantro.
    Traditionally, this is served with cous-cous (a wheat product) though not easy to locate for some cooks.
    Just the thought of those prunes stewing with the meat makes my mouth water. This is truly a great dish!
    I often use millet with dishes such as these. I am just wondering why you choose quinoa (which I also love). Because of its high protein content, wouldn’t this be too much protein for (most people) this dish? Just wondering.
    I’ve just discovered your website. VERY nice, indeed!

  3. Just want to stop by and mention that thanks to your inspiration, I made this recipe – not having made it in ages. Sooo good! And please tell your mom the idea of grating the onions first (I fine chopped them with my hand blender – same effect) is fantastic. I really appreciated this tip.
    Also, about the lemon: had a chat with a Moroccan lady friend, she said per pound of meat only use about two very thin slices. This combines with the sweetness of the prunes and creates the sweet/slightly tangy flavour in the end sauce. Too much ruins it, she said. She also adds a little lemon zest. Just thought I would pass this on.
    BTW, SHE also thought your mom’s onion suggestion was a really clever one! (She is also a fantastic cook!)
    Greetings to your mom from far away!

  4. Patricia — Thanks for the comments! We use the quinoa for its iron content, but millet would be great too. Couscous is probably more available here than either of the others but my mom is wheat-sensitive so we don’t tend to use it.
    Thanks for the tips! :)

  5. Here’s the beef

    I was looking through old posts and found this one posted over a year ago that made me laugh. It makes reference to the Chino slaughter house case and discusses one of my favorite foods: beef. But as was…

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