Try this Moroccan-Style Braised Beef with Carrots and Couscous for a ethnic-inspired dinner that will delight. Dried apricots and North African spices render a hearty stew. Use an immersion blender to thicken the braising mixture gravy--no need for a roux.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
To prepare beef, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan, and cook 4 minutes or until beef is browned on all sides, turning occasionally. Transfer beef to a bowl; cover and keep warm.
Add 3 cups onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add 4 garlic cloves and next 4 ingredients (through ginger); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 2 cans broth; bring to a boil. Add apricots; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender in pan, puree onion mixture. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Return beef to onion mixture; cook over medium-low heat 1 hour or until beef is tender. Add carrot to pan; cover and cook 15 minutes or until carrot is tender, adding 2 tablespoons water, if desired, to loosen sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley.
While beef cooks, prepare couscous. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Stir in 1/3 cup broth and 1/3 cup water; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes; fluff with a fork. Stir in green onions.
Spoon couscous onto 4 plates. Top evenly with beef stew, and sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon parsley.
What a surprise! The apricots give this a perfect sweetness and tang. If you like that North African mix of savory and fruity, try this. I doubled the recipe--had some stew meat in the freezer to use up. The leftovers froze well. I agree that the ratio of sauce to meat and carrots is high. I couldn't imagine putting the apricots in whole and quartered them. Then of course the recipe has you blending the sauce making that step unnecessary.
Excellent! Great for a cozy feeling on a cold night. I didn't have an emulsifier or dried apricots, so I chopped the onion to a medium dice and after cooking the garlic and spices, sprinkled in 1/4 cup flour to make a roux so the gravy wouldn't be runny. Also, didn't bother simmering for 30 minutes without the meat, simply added it in at that stage, covered the pot and cooked over medium-low for about an hour and a half. To compensate for the missing apricots, I stirred in one tablespoon of honey right before adding the carrots. The couscous was really good too, a great compliment to the stew.
We loved this dish! I modified for the slow cooker by doing the following: I first browned the beef, then put it in the slow cooker with about 1/2 the broth called for and turned it on to get it started. I followed the recipe for the onions all the way to the blending point, then poured over the beef and put it on high for about an hour, then on low for the rest of the day, stirring every hour or so. About 2 hours before I wanted to serve it I added the carrots (doubled because we love carrots), and about 1 hour later (when they were tender) I left the lid partially open to thicken and reduce the sauce. For lower maintenance I could have added the carrots when I added the onion sauce. I made the couscous as written, but doubled it - so yummy with the beefy flavor coming through and complementing the beef in the stew. Next time I'll double the beef as well, or reduce the amount of onion sauce, as they were a bit out of proportion, which could be due to the slow cooker not reducing the sauce as much as it would on the stovetop. And I'll triple the couscous, we ran out while we still had some stew left. We all loved it, from my 2 year old and 4 year old to myself and my husband - it was flavorful, hearty and a nice change from the usual beef stew! I will definitely make it again.
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