One of the great things about being a foodie in this day and age is the wealth of great cuisines available to be had. Time was, one had to travel the world to sample anything more exotic than Italian or French, but now, distant cuisine comes to you, usually in the form of a restaurant, often managed by expats from those distant lands.
Here in my neck of the woods, we have a couple of Lebanese Restaurants, an Ethiopian one, and quite a smattering of others. What we don't have at the moment is a Moroccan one, and that's too bad, because I've sampled this cuisine other places (though, unfortunately, not Morocco itself) and I quite enjoy it. It is spicy, savory and just a bit exotic.
I've always been planning to feature some Moroccan food here on the blog, particularly since we received a tagine, or Moroccan cooking pot, as a wedding gift years ago. I've even photographed a few recipes in that pot, but for whatever reason those photos never came out good enough to blog, alas. But the food was good. Moroccan recipes often feature some unique, interesting ingredients. Preserved lemons are big in their cuisine, as is Harissa, a spicy, piquant pepper sauce that is all the rage in Morocco, and it's popularity is spreading rapidly.
I received some Harissa as a Christmas gift a year or so ago, and I've been fascinated with it ever since. I've picked up several more brands and tried them. They run the spectrum on heat and flavor, but all were good, and Harissa could be well on its way to becoming the 'new' sriracha.
Anyhoo, this recipe features harissa prominently, so give it a try if you get a chance.
1 lb Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion, Minced
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Harissa Sauce
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paparika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1/3 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 Teaspoon Harissa Powder (optional)
Preheat Oven to 400F. Mince Onion
Mix with Harissa, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Garlic and Egg
Add Ground Beef and mix until thoroughly blended
Grab about a hand full of the meat mixture
Shape into kebabs of about three ounces each.
Usually you would from these onto a stick like a true kebab, then grill them over an open fire. I find that 1) the ground beef kebabs don't tend to stay on the stick very well and 2) they will break apart if you try to grill them this way. Sure, grilled over a charcoal fire will give you better flavor, so go that route if you want, but I usually fix these in the oven for simplicity's sake, and they come out great.
Place on tray and roast in 450F oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Serve right away. Here we've served some with rice and harissa-roasted carrots.
Until next time,