Travel By Taste

Everyone needs friends who like to travel. Everyone. Especially if you’re like me and always have a bad case of wanderlust. It’s hard to believe that I only just got my passport a year or so ago. And a bigger shame that I used it for the first (and only!) time about six months ago. But it’s not for a lack of want. No. It’s for a lack of opportunity. Only now do I have the resources (read: make barely enough money) to travel abroad. My biggest regret from my college days was not spending a semester studying in a foreign land.

Since I haven’t often had the opportunity to travel, I like to be adventurous in my food. I read a lot of National Geographic Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazine and am quick to visually eat up all the bright colors and cultural flavors that pop off those pages. The dish below is inspired by Morocco (whether or not it is a culturally accurate recipe is another story) and my desire to one day travel there. If you go, send me a postcard!

Morrocan Beef Stew
–tsp canola or vegetable oil
–2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ thick half circles
–small yellow onion, chopped
–1-2 lbs. beef stew meat
–ground ginger
–ancho chile powder
–pinch salt
–1/2 cup red wine
–8 plum or roma tomatoes
–15oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
–6oz box of couscous
–1/4 cup honey
–4 ribs of kale, cut away from the ribs and chopped roughly
–1/4 cup toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

Heat an oven proof dutch oven (mine is cast iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add the canola and sauté the onion and sweet potato for 4ish minutes, stirring to keep from sticking but still allowing the outside to of the potato to toast. Add the beef and the spices and stir to evenly coat the beef/onion/potato mix with the seasonings. Add the tomato and the chickpeas before adding 1/2 cup water and the wine. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, remove from the heat and transfer to the oven. Cook, covered, at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the lid (or aluminum foil), stir, and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes. At this point prepare the couscous according to package directions.
While the couscous cooks and the stew finishes, toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Remove and set aside.

Remove the pot from the oven. Stir in the honey and the kale. Cover the pot to steam the kale (no heat is needed, the heat from the stew should suffice). Serve over the couscous with pepitas sprinkled on top.
Dammit Jim, I’m not a doctor…
Time: 75 minutes
Serves: 6
Calories: 461 per serving

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