Filet tails taste just like filet mignon but are a lot cheaper…they’re perfect for this Moroccan beef stew recipe!
When Chris and I drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, we stop at Harris ranch, the halfway point of the five hour trip.
If headed in the direction of home, I stock up on steaks from their butcher shop. I usually buy what looks good, but I ALWAYS get the filet tails if they have them and use them in this delicious Moroccan flavored stew recipe. I’ve tried using other cuts of meat, but the filet just tastes the best. The filet tail that is…because there’s no way in hell that I’m paying the astronomical prices for a regular filet mignon and cooking it anything past medium rare!
If you happen to come across some filet tails at your local butcher shop or supermarket, grab them! Most people don’t know that they are basically the same thing as filet mignon, but sold for a fraction of the price because they come from the “tail” end of the tenderloin and are much smaller. But the tenderness is the same and there’s so much you can do with them!
Start by using the filet tails in this mouthwatering stew with onions, carrots, chickpeas, almonds, cilantro and an exciting blend of spices.
Hard to believe this delicious Moroccan beef stew takes only about 15 minutes to cook…the exotic blend of flavors makes it taste like you’ve been slaving at the stove for hours!
That’s why the filet tails are key, because you achieve those melt-in-your-mouth beef bites in just minutes. By itself, the stew contains few carbs and would fall in the 3 Anchors category. The garbanzo beans provide most of them, but they’re the good, low-glycemic kind. I highly recommend making some couscous on the side, which adds the carbs and elevates it to 4 Anchors…but they’re well worth it! Couscous is the staple grain of Moroccan cuisine and is served as the side with pretty much everything. I use whole wheat couscous which has more nutrients, it cooks in 5 minutes and adds a wonderful earthy / nutty flavor to the dish. And, of course, if truly splurging…you can’t go wrong with some toasted bread with butter to soak up the flavorful broth. Either way, I guarantee that this easy, Moroccan stew will become a regular in your dinner rotation, especially when you come across affordable filet tails.
Oh and I know I got carried away with the amount of photos I posted in the “Instructions with photos” below, but I couldn’t help it…the cooking process of this stew was so pretty! I love layering color when cooking and love taking pictures of it 🙂
Should I get a Tagine?
I love the flavors and ingredients of Moroccan cuisine. Most dishes are incredibly easy and fast to prepare, and every bite makes you feel like you are traveling through the beautiful country.
Moroccan flavors are very unique and reflect influences from various cultures that either traded with the country, occupied it or colonized it through the centuries. A mix of Arabic, European and Mediterranean ingredients are found in most dishes, which are usually slow cooked in an earthenware pot called the Tagine (also spelled Tajine). They’re made of clay and are often glazed and hand painted with stunning, colorful patterns. They look awesome and I want one!
The Tagine pot consists of two pieces: a base and a large cone shaped top that sits on the base and promotes the return of condensation to the bottom during cooking. Traditionally, a Tagine is set over charcoal (though an oven or stovetop can also be used) kept at consistently low temperatures, which allows the food to cook slowly over long periods of time.
Because of its clever design and the ability to trap steam and return it to the bottom during cooking, minimal amount of water or broth is needed to cook the stews. That’s why braising and making stews in Tagines is popular in African regions, where the supply of water is not as abundant.
Tagine is used interchangeably to describe the pot which cooks the food and the dish itself. A traditional Tagine meal consists of protein, most commonly beef but also lamb, chicken, seafood, mutton or… camel (sigh), cooked slowly with various fruits, vegetables, spices and nuts. The signature Moroccan flavor comes from the unique combinations of sweet and savory ingredients. Some examples are lamb, chicken or beef with fruits such as apricots, prunes or figs; chicken with lemon and olives (definitely a mediterranean influence there), lamb or chicken with raisins and almonds, and beef braised with quinces or chickpeas.
If you have a Tagine, I would love to hear what your experience has been with it and to see pictures of the cooking process! I could easily be convinced into getting one, even if we are trying to downsize our possessions so we can move onto a sailboat 😉
Moroccan beef stew with whole wheat couscous
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs filet tails or beef tenderloin
- 2 medium onions (or 1 large)
- 2 large carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 to 3 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 3 to 4 tbs olive oil (or canola oil)
- 1 tbs hot Paprika
- 1 tbs sweet Paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated lemon peel
- pinch of hot pepper flakes (or 1/8 tsp if you like heat)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous (or regular)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1) Cut the meat into even pieces, about 1 inch wide (it’s ok if they’re not perfect) and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used about 1 tbs of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. If using regular salt, go lighter on the amount. Hint: For minimal cleanup, I use a dishwasher safe plastic cutting board when cutting raw meat, so I can just throw it in the washer after and not worry about contamination.
2)Heat half the oil in a large (preferably cast iron) dutch oven over medium high heat until hot but not burning. Brown the meat in batches without over crowding. Make sure the pieces are not touching, or they will steam instead of browning. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in a plate or dish that will catch the juices. If vegetables are not ready, also remove the pan from heat.
3) Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onions and carrots, and finely mince the garlic (I like to use a grater). Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium low heat and add the onions, carrots, garlic and hot pepper if using. Sprinkle the vegetables with a little kosher salt and some pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. DO NOT BURN! And stir often.
4) Add all the spices (I like to pre-mix mine) to the vegetables and cook stirring for a minute until spices are fragrant.
5) Add the broth and stir to combine. Chop the olives and add to the pan, along with the raisins, garbanzo beans, almonds and half of the cilantro. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat slightly and simmer for 7 minutes. If you would like more liquid in your stew, you can add some more broth or some water.
6) Add the beef along with the rendered juices and finely grate the lemon peel and add to the pan. Add the rest of the cilantro and stir everything to combine. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
FOR THE COUSCOUS:
It’s so simple! Place 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp kosher salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, add 1 cup of whole wheat couscous. Turn off the heat, cover and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with fork and serve immediately.
Fair cooking! 🙂