08 Jul Moroccan Beef & Mushroom Tagine
I’m not one for culinary deception. I have never understood why anyone would slip perfectly good spinach into brownie batter or sneak astringent cauliflower into banana muffins. Not only do the flavours conflict, such subterfuge gives respectable vegetables an inferiority complex. So, let me be perfectly clear. When I agreed to create a recipe for the Blend & Extend challenge, I was not treating mushrooms like the redheaded step-child of the food world. I was giving them equal billing.
The stated aim of this challenge is to blend ground beef with mushrooms to a) make beef go further and b) put some more vegetables into your diet without adding another side dish to your list of menu items. As an added bonus, I got c) my mushroom-hating husband to admit there are times when mushrooms are, in fact, enjoyable (you can read more details here.)
Because I was making meatballs without any binding agents such as bread crumbs or eggs, I wanted to make sure the moisture content of the mushrooms wouldn’t sabotage the dish. I used a 2 to 1 ratio of extra lean ground beef to mushroom (by weight, not volume) and selected cremini mushrooms for their firm texture. White mushrooms would do just fine. I considered portobello but wondered if the airy gills would provided the needed support.
I quartered the mushroom and then pulsed them in the food processor until they resembled couscous. If you don’t have a food processor, you could chop them by hand. Same goes for the onions. Don’t over-process them or you’ll have onion soup.
Better yet, you don’t need the classic, cone-topped tagine to make this Moroccan dish. All you need is a stove top, large skillet and a lid. Since it partially covers the skillet you don’t even need one that fits perfectly. My 12-inch skillet arrived from the store topless, so I used the lid from my maslin pan (canning gear comes in handy so often. Times like these justify the purchase).
The results? Spicy meatballs lounging in a bath of sauce. A shower of lemon juice and some thirsty flatbread is all you need to finish things off.
Oh yes, and cilantro. If you’re not a cilantro fan, try parsley or a mix of parsley and mint. I won’t tell.
Disclosure: Occasionally, I work with brands when I feel their product or service fits my from-scratch, real-food mentality. This is one of those times. I received compensation from Mushrooms Canada for developing, photographing and posting this recipe. I’m a
fussy discerning eater, so I post only recipes I’d serve at my own table. This one passed. With flying colours.