Recipe: Beef and squash “tagine”

Just finished the prep. The spices are the star of the show.
Just finished the prep. The spices are the star of the show.

I put quotes around “tagine” in the title because I don’t have the traditional earthenware pot, but I was inspired by the delicious tagines Mom and I had in Paris to try making a version in Cambridge. This is a pared-down version of the Moroccan stew Elise and I made way back in October. It was delicious then with chickpeas, chicken, and potatoes, and it’s pretty good now with just aromatics, lean beef, zucchini, and butternut squash (terribly unseasonal, but on sale at Aldi…). Not much else to say, except that I’ll be looking forward to dinner this week!

Beef, onions, and zucchini in a little saute.
Beef, onions, and zucchini in a little saute.
Just added the big pile of squash. I was pretty psyched at this point.
Just added the big pile of squash. I was pretty psyched at this point.
Big pot o' goodness :)
Big pot o’ goodness 🙂
I could take or leave the pomegranate, but it sure looks pretty.
I could take or leave the pomegranate, but it sure looks pretty.

Beef and Squash Tagine

Yield: 6 servings.

Adapted from My Recipes and my previous Moroccan stew.

2 tsp paprika (+ more to taste)
2 tsp cumin (+ more to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon (+ more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (+more to taste)
1/2 tsp crushed chiles (+ more to taste)
1 lb (~450 g) lean diced beef
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
2 small/medium onions, chopped
1 large or 2 small zucchini (mine were 350 g)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 c chicken/vegetable stock
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes in juice
4 c butternut squash, 1-inch cubes (about 1 lb)
2 tsp orange zest

Garnishes (optional): fresh cilantro, plain yogurt, toasted slivered almonds, hot sauce, pomegranate arils

Combine spices and beef in bowl and toss to coat.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and beef and cook until beef is browned on all sides and onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and saute until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste, stir to incorporate, and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add stock and canned tomatoes with juices. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid, then add butternut squash and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Taste and add more spices if desired. Add orange zest and simmer for additional 2-3 minutes, until squash is tender.

Serving suggestion: Over couscous, rice, or quinoa (or on its own as a soup), topped with plain yogurt, toasted almonds, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, and/or pomegranate arils. As the days/nights get warmer, I bet this would pair well with ice-cold lemonsweet.

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