My Mom’s Moroccan Beef Stew is hearty, flavorful and perfect for a chilly night!
It may not be a beef stew time of year, however, for me there’s no better recipe to share with you for Mother’s Day than one of my mother’s award-winning recipes–Mom’s Moroccan Beef Stew.
My mother, Ann Ramczyk, was an award-winning cook. Besides winning numerous local and state cooking competitions, she represented Wisconsin twice at the Pillsbury Bake-Off and twice at national beef and chicken cook-offs. This Moroccan Beef Stew was the first-place winner in the 1988 Wisconsin beef cook-off.
I’ve made some adjustments to her recipe over time, but some things Mom just knew best — like using a chuck roast for the stew meat and hand-trimming it. To this day, I don’t purchase anything labeled “beef stew meat,” which is often bits and pieces of a variety of cuts that can result in different meat textures within the stew.
When I make this dish, I purchase about a 2 1/2 to 3-pound chuck roast. After trimming and cubing it, I have just over two pounds of meat that I’m confident will yield a consistent texture throughout.
Mom used canned pineapple for her winning dish, but I prefer the sweetness of dried apricots instead.
Mom slow-cooked her stew on the stovetop. However, my secret weapon for getting stews done quickly is an electric pressure cooker. She never used the old stovetop pressure cookers because of their reputation for exploding. However, today’s pressure cookers — both electric and stovetop — are extremely safe.
An added bonus with electric pressure cookers is they are often 3-in-1 devices that also include a rice cooker and slow cooker. Just lock the lid, set the pressure and timer and you can move on to another task. When the stew is done, release the pressure on any pressure cooker as gradually as possible. If done too quickly, the meat can toughen up.
Electric pressure cookers don’t go all the way to 15 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure. If using a stovetop pressure cooker, you will need to adjust the cooking time because they do go that high. To make the stew another old-fashioned way, you can also do it in a 325-degree oven for about the same amount of time as on the stovetop.
My final touch is to add the harissa, a spicy condiment common in North African cuisine. Garnish with celery leaves (another frugal tip from Mom) and serve with couscous or rice.
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My Mom's Moroccan Beef Stew is hearty, flavorful and perfect for a chilly night!
- 2 pounds cubed and trimmed chuck roast
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 small plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
- Celery leaves, for garnish
- 2 dried chipotle peppers
- 4 dried New Mexico chili peppers
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt, to taste
STEW: Combine flour, salt and pepper on a plate and dredge beef pieces.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven and brown beef evenly in batches. Pour off excess drippings.
Combine the paprika, coriander, turmeric, cumin, ginger and cayenne and sprinkle over beef. Add the celery, onion, carrot, garlic and beef broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours. Alternately, combine the ingredients in an electric pressure cooker and cook on High for 22 minutes or in a slow-cooker for 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.
Add the apricots and tomatoes. Cook an additional 15 minutes on the stovetop, 1 more minute on high in the pressure cooker. If using a slow-cooker, add when 1 hour is left to go.
Garnish with celery sprigs and serve with harissa.
HARISSA: Place peppers in a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let stand 20 minutes.
Remove stems and seeds and transfer to a food processor or blender.
Combine cumin and coriander in a dry, nonstick skillet and toast briefly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the peppers along with garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Blend to a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Stews are always better when they have an opportunity for the flavors to meld. Cook up to two days ahead and keep refrigerated.
TO FREEZE: Cool thoroughly and place in an airtight container. Freeze up to three months.