This Moroccan stew is steeped in sensuality. The sweet and spicy smells of garam masala and cayenne pepper give a hint of what’s to come. Garam masala is to me what madeleines were to Proust. I love the stuff. The smell alone is intoxicating. There’s a divine fusion of sultry aromas and warming spices in this stew.
Excuse me while I sniff the spice bottle.
“I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…” Marcel Proust (1871-1922) Remembrance of Things Past
I know exactly what he means, although my pleasure fixation is not for madeleines. It’s for the cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, clove, cumin, coriander and black pepper that give this stew such complex and sensual flavor.
Walk into a fine spice shop and take a deep, slow whiff of freshly ground and mixed garam masala. You’ll know what I mean.
sweet and spicy gluten-free Morrocan stew
what you need
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2/3 lb organic, 100% grass fed beef, cut into stew cubes
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1-1/4 cup
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1 inch cubes, about 3 cups
3 garden-fresh and roasted tomatoes (optional, but good) *
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained *
6 mejool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional, but good)
1-2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper *
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
what you do
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees if you choose to add roasted tomatoes. Wash and cut tomatoes into quarters. Put in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, add some sea salt and freshly ground pepper and toss to coat. Place in a shallow glass baking dish, skin side down and put on center rack of the oven for 20 minutes. (You can do this as you’re preparing the other ingredients.) Let cool slightly and mash with a fork. Set aside for later.
• Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large soup pot or sauce pan. Add beef chunks in batches, so they don’t crowd each other. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and brown on all sides, about 4 or 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
• Add a little more coconut oil to the pot (1/2 to 1 tablespoon). Add the onion and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.
• Pour the chicken broth into the pot and add the chopped sweet potato chunks. Bring to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
• Add the beef, roasted and smashed tomatoes, garbanzo beans, mejool dates, coconut milk and spices. Gently stir to combine ingredients. Let simmer until juices thicken and ingredients combine. Add the cilantro, cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
• Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Take a big sniff, serve and enjoy. Makes about 6 servings.
Eat alone as a stew or pour over brown rice. Next time I think I’ll add a few chunks of candied ginger. Doesn’t that sound good?
* The tomatoes are an option. I have so many tomatoes right now, I’m tossing them in everything I make.
* Eden Organics uses BPA-free cans.
* If you don’t want spicy, skip the cayenne pepper and use 1-2 teaspoons of paprika. I actually used more cayenne pepper than I mentioned in the recipe, but I like spicy.
Peace, love and aromatic spices.