Monday, March 5, 2012

North African Beef Stew; slow cooker recipe

This is what we had for dinner last night, I have been trying to use my crock pot more and more because of my lack of energy in the evenings.  Today marks my 37th week of this pregnancy, at this point baby is considered full term, and could pop out at any time.  Well, probably not for a while because my babies are stubborn little things.

I took it from my Better Homes and Gardens Simple Slow Cooker Recipes, and it turned out great.  I was fine with the directions at hand, and followed them for the most part.  It is designed to be served over a bed of couscous  (the small stuff), but alas my pantry was fresh out.

I did though have a bag of Lebanese Couscous, as you can see it is much larger than the couscous that most people are familiar with, it is larger than Israeli couscous as well.  It has more of a pasta type texture to it.  It worked, and I liked the results, I could also see how traditional couscous would work well absorbing a lot of the juices.

1.5 pounds of beef stew meat
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise  
   and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
hot cooked couscous

Cut the meat into 1" pieces.  Combine meat, sweet potatoes, and onion.  Stir in water, bouillon, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and garlic.

Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7.5-8.5 hours or on high heat setting for 3.5-4 hours.  Stir in tomatoes and dried apricots.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes more.

At this point I began toasting my couscous.  If you decide to go the route that I did, be sure to toast it first, you can also toast traditional small couscous, but be sure to check the directions 1st to not overdo it.

Melt a half of a stick of butter in a large sauté pan, when melted at 2 cups of Lebanese couscous.   It takes about 10 minutes to completely toast, shake the pan regularly during the time to be sure that it is evenly toasted.  When done add 4 cups of stock to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a medium low, cook until done, about 20 minutes.

Serve stew over a bed of couscous.

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