Moroccan Stew with Preserved Lemons & Olives
Inspired by: Moroccan Food
Serves 4 to 5.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 ½ -2 hours
1 1/2 lbs. (700 g) beef or lamb, cut into 3-inch pieces (my first choice is lamb, but they didn't have any at the shop today)
1 large onion, chopped fine or grated
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
1/2 tsp ras el hanout (optional, Middle Eastern spice mix)
1/4 cup chopped parsley and cilantro
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful olives, pitted (I used sundried Lebanese olives – awesome)
1 preserved lemon, quartered, pith removed removed and rinsed well
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C
2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, finely chopped onion, ginger, pepper & turmeric. Set aside.
2. Heat a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven, seasoned with just a touch of olive oil over high heat until it's really hot and the oil just begins to smoke. Once it's hot, sear the meat in batches so it doesn't "stew" (brown on all sides). Add the seared meat to the onion mixture and toss together and return to the pot once all the batches are done. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat. The fragrance and color will tell you when it's ready. Add the garlic and toss. Cook for an additional minute or two. Add the water, saffron, ras el hanout, if using, parsley and cilantro. Mix well and bring the stew to a boil.
3. Cover and transfer to the oven for 1-2 hours or until the meat is quite tender. Stir every 30 minutes or so and add a little water if necessary to prevent the meat from scorching.
4. When the meat is cooked, add the olives and lemon, and finish the cooking on the top of the stove, over medium –high heat to reduce the liquids until they have the appearance of a thick sauce.
This is great served over couscous or with mashed sweet potatoes.