You wouldn’t believe how easy my Moroccan beef tajine is to make. If my latest cookbook is endowed with so many wonderful recipes, you have my daughter Bella to thank almost as well as me: While I was writing this book, she would call me regularly and ask me with great urgency if I thought of including this or that dish. (“Mommy, how could you leave it out?”) This beef tajine was on top of her must-have repertoire.
My beef tajine, like all tajines, cooks on a stovetop, which is why it is not only succulent, but also low maintenance.
If you can find beef cheeks, that would be ideal for this beef tajine, and indeed for all tajines. It is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Only be sure to rinse it thoroughly before using, as it often errs on the salty side, and whatever you do, never add any salt to the dish. Our kosher meat has ample salt to season the whole dish and then some!
If lamb is what you prefer, this beef tajine will be delicious as a lamb tajine as well. Lamb shanks will work perfectly and are decently priced.
- 4 pounds lean beef chunks, or beef cheeks thoroughly rinsed, cut into 2-inch squares (or 8 lamb shanks)
- 6 cups water
- 2 large onions, sliced very thin
- Good pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano, leaves only, or 3 tablespoons dry
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- Ground pepper to taste
Bring the beef chunks and the water to a boil in heavy broad bottom pot. Reduce the flame to medium, and cook, covered, for two hours. Make sure you don't run out of water (add a little water if necessary). Add the onions, saffron and turmeric and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover, add the thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest and pepper and cook 15 more minutes. Transfer the meat with a slotted spoon onto a platter. Check the liquid in the pot: If it is too thin, reduce on a high flame for a few minutes until thickened, and pour over the meat. Serve hot. Serve with the rice, potato or noodles on the side, so as not to "waste" the lovely sauce on the side dish, but rather, to have the sauce remain integral part of the meat dish. Makes 8 servings.