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Beef and Onion Tagine with Prunes and Apricots
3 hours 30 minutes active
Tagine de boeuf aux pruneaux is a classic Moroccan braise, one that exemplifies the North African way of combining savory and sweet ingredients along with warm, aromatic spices. In Fes, we tasted many renditions of this stew of beef, onions and dried fruits—in casual eateries, upscale restaurants and even home kitchens. When re-creating the dish, we aimed to combine the best attributes of our favorite versions: a generous amount of silky caramelized onions, chunks of fork-tender beef, a harmonious mix of aromatic spices and enough savory garlic to balance the sweetness of the fruits. The customary method for making tagine de boeuf aux pruneaux is to layer the ingredients in the pot. We took a cue from home cook Rkia Ouali who reserved half of the copious amount of onions for scattering on top of the stew before allowing it to simmer slowly. This technique creates a little variation in the onions’ texture and flavor, with the slices at the bottom becoming meltingly soft and the ones at the surface taking on some light caramelization. We serve our tagine garnished with almonds and parsley, along with dried apricots and additional prunes simmered until plump in some of the braising liquid, then finished with sesame seeds. This elegant compote-like flourish was unique to home cook Hayat Hamass’ recipe and one we adopted to bring some contrasting flavor and color to the stew. The Moroccan flatbread called khobz is the traditional accompaniment for this tagine; alternatively, serve warmed pita or crusty bread alongside.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pounds red onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick