Moroccan Beef & Mushroom Tagine

Moroccan Beef & Mushroom TagineTagine simply means stew. You can make this mushroom-infused Moroccan classic without the traditional cone-lidded tagine slaoui. A simple deep skillet and lid will do. All you need is something to absorb all the spicy sauce.

Serves:4 to 6 | Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Meatballs:
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (about 10 2-inch mushrooms), quartered
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
remaining onion (from above)
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 to 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Meatballs:
Place the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until the mushrooms resemble couscous, about 10 pulses. Place minced mushroom in a large bowl. Place the quartered onions in the food process and pulse until minced. Add 1/4 cup of the minced onions to the mushrooms and set the remaining onions aside for the sauce. There should be about 3/4 cup of onions left.

Using your hands, mix the beef, garlic, cilantro, paprika, salt, and black pepper into the mushroom and onions. Roll into 1-inch balls. A 1-tablespoon cookie scoop speeds up this process and makes for uniform meatballs. You should have about 40 meatballs.

Heat a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown the meatballs. Set the meatballs aside. Do not wipe pan out. The browned bits add flavour to the sauce.

Sauce:
Melt the butter in the meatball skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper and chili flakes, if using. Fry for a 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Gently add the meatballs back into the pan. Add enough water to cover the meatballs by 2/3, about 1 cup. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook with lid partially on for 40 minutes. Occasionally check to ensure the sauce hasn’t cooked down too far. You want about a cup of sauce left. Add more water if necessary.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Serve with Middle Eastern flat bread to soak up the sauce. Alternatively, you can serve over couscous or rice.

Recipe courtesy of Charmian Christie, The Messy Baker