Braised Beef with Preserved Lemons & Harissa

Braised Beef with Preserved Lemons & Harissa

Braised Beef with Preserved Lemons & Harissa


1 (3-pound) bone-in chuck roast, or 2 pounds stew meat

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil I medium onion, cut into large dice

1 Preserved Lemon or store-bought, rinsed and finely chopped (peel only)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons ras al hanout (see note)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely ground

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely ground

1 to 3 tablespoons harissa, depending on your preferred heat level

3 cups beef stock or vegetable broth

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup lightly packed, coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup lightly packed, coarsely chopped cilantro leaves


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and season well with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or heavy, ovenproof pan with a lid, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear it for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for a chuck roast, or brown the meat on all sides for stew meat. Be careful not to crowd the pan, browning in 2 batches if necessary. Remove the browned beef from the pan to a large bowl. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom. After 3 or 4 minutes, or when the onion has softened slightly, add the lemon, garlic, ras al hanout, cumin, coriander, and harissa. Continue to cook for a few minutes, until the ingredients are aromatic. Put the meat back in the pan, along with any juices in the bowl. Add the stock, thyme, and bay leaf, and bring the mixture to a boil. Carefully remove the pan from the heat, cover it with the lid, and put it in the oven. Cook the beef for 2 hours (for stew meat) or 3 to 3½ hours for a larger, bone-in cut. Check the level of the stock occasionally, adding a little bit of water if the level is low or the pan or meat seems dry. The meat is ready when it is meltingly tender and has fallen off the bone. To serve, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and add the parsley and cilantro. NOTE: Ras al hanout is a North African spice blend. Find it online and at well-stocked groceries or Middle Eastern markets. To make your own, lightly toast and grind 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, and ½ teaspoon each of ground cardamom, ground ginger, and turmeric.

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