Moroccan Feast

Inspired by a recent Cooking as a First Language class about Moroccan cuisine, Invitation Magazines food blogger Lauren McElwain tried her hand at making this Moroccan feast for her husband’s birthday. The dinner features slow-cooked Moroccan beef and a sweet potato and plum tagine served with a side of cous cous.

Recipes and photograph by Lauren McElwain

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Beef

5 garlic cloves

3 shallots

¾ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons butter

One 3-pound chuck roast

In a food processor, blend garlic, shallots, parsley, seasonings and lemon together. Set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the chuck roast, and place it in a slow-cooker. Massage the seasoning mixture into the meat. Top the meat with honey and butter. Cover, and cook for 8-10 hours. Remove from slow cooker, shred and serve with following side dishes.

Sweet Potato and Plum Tagine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 inch piece fresh ginger (peeled and grated)

2 cinnamon sticks

3 shallots, peeled and cut into wedges

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

¾ cup pitted prunes

1 tablespoon honey

1¾ cups chicken broth

Large handful chopped cilantro leaves

5-6 fresh mint leaves, chopped

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a tagine or heavy-duty casserole dish, heat the olive oil and butter. Add ginger and cinnamon sticks. Add the shallots. When they begin to color, add the sweet potatoes. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring, and then add prunes and honey.

Reduce heat, cover, and cook gently for about 25 minutes.

Uncover and stir in cilantro and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, reduce liquid by cooking uncovered for 2-3 more minutes. The vegetables should be tender and slightly caramelized.

Garnish with more cilantro and mint, and serve immediately alongside Moroccan beef and cous cous.

Cous Cous

Prepare 2 boxes of your favorite type of cous cous according to package directions (McElwain likes Near East Toasted Pine Nut cous cous, which is easily found at most grocery stores). When it’s ready, top with 4 tablespoons of butter, allow to melt, and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle with feta cheese, and garnish with fresh cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serve alongside Moroccan beef and sweet potato and plum tagine.

Food blogger Lauren McElwain is the founder and director of Cooking as a First Language, a community organization based in Tupelo that meets monthly to enable guest chefs from many different countries to share authentic, international food and culture with others. Learn more at

Oxford, Mississippi | United States

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