Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Moroccan Beef with Apricots & Dates + Simple Cauliflower Mash (Whole30 Day 22)


It's Day 22 of my Whole30!  I can't believe it's been over three weeks.  This month really is flying by.  I have more energy, more even moods, and while I still get hungry, I no longer want to kill all the things when my stomach starts rumbling.  Also, my pants are looser and I'm recovering more quickly from my workouts, with much less soreness.

Yesterday, a big snowstorm came to town.  After traipsing home from the train station in the snow, I made this Moroccan beef.  It's almost a stew, but I wanted the sauce to be nice and thick so that the beef wasn't swimming in liquid.  The meat is perfectly spiced, and the sweet fruit provides a wonderful counterpoint.  The garnishes--toasted almonds and fresh cilantro--are highly recommended.  I served this beef over a simple cauliflower mash, but it would also be great with spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, or even real rice--anything that will soak up the delicious sauce.  No matter how you serve it, this dish will comfort and warm you on a cold winter's night.



Moroccan Beef with Apricots & Dates (adapted from Food Wanderings in Asia)
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 90-120 minutes

Ingredients:

For the beef with apricots & dates:

1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sirloin stir-fry or beef stew meat, grass-fed if possible

1/2 cup pitted Mejdool dates, halved
1/2 cup dried apricots
Hot water

2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1 onion, halved through the core and sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Sea salt to taste

1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds, toasted*
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*To toast almonds, cook them in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently, until they're golden brown and fragrant, about five minutes.

Combine all the spices with the tablespoon of olive oil, and mix with the beef.

Place the dried fruit in a two-cup measure, and fill the cup with very hot water.  Set aside.

Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the skillet is very hot, add the beef and sear, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate.

Adjust the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the skillet, and stir-fry for about five minutes, until softened.  Add the ginger and cook just until fragrant, about one minute.  Return the beef to the skillet and toss to mix well.  Pour in the soaking water from the two-cup measure, leaving the fruit in the cup to add later.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beef is tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the mashed cauliflower (see recipe below).

Remove the lid, stir in the fruit, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until much of the liquid is gone and the sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat.  Season to taste with sea salt.

Serve hot, on a bed of mashed cauliflower if desired, and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cilantro.

Mashed Cauliflower
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, chopped into large florets
2-3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steam the cauliflower in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Transfer to a bowl and add the ghee or olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Puree with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired and serve hot, with Moroccan beef or any other main dish.


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Want more Whole30 tips & recipes?  Come back for a new post (almost) everyday this month, and check out these previous posts:


For even more paleo recipes, check out these Whole30 posts from my archives or my Whole30 Pinterest board.  Also, follow me on Instagram to see pics of what I'm eating throughout my Whole30.

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