Even though it is available year-round, cauliflower is a winter vegetable. For those who prefer to eat seasonally, it is best to shop at the farmers’ markets for a realistic idea.
Growing cauliflower in a home garden requires patience, but it is worth the wait. My kids enjoy eating raw and cooked as long as it retains some crunch.
This beef cauliflower tajine is a staple in North African cuisine with slight variations from one country to another.
What is a tajine?
The word tajine applies to the cooking pot and the dish itself, depending on the country. For example, in Morocco, a tajine is a uniquely-shaped clay pot. Therefore whatever you cook in it is called tajine too. In Algeria and Tunisia, any stew-like dish is a tajine.
Personally, I enjoy and prefer using clay pots for cooking traditional dishes. The slow simmer and the natural scent of earth, I believe, add extra flavor and comfort to a meal. It is crucial, though, to use unglazed clay to avoid unwanted chemicals leaching into your food.
Ingredients you need to make Cauliflower tajine
- Cuts of beef that are suitable for stew. I prefer pieces with the bone still attached to them for extra flavor.
- Cauliflower should be the queen of winter vegetables. It is high in fiber but low in calories and carbs. In addition, it is loaded with vitamins ( C &K) and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
- Potatoes find their way into almost every meal worldwide. It is the kids’ beloved starch after pasta, after all. Despite their unpopularity among dieters and health advocates, potatoes are highly nutritious, especially unpeeled.
- Preserved lemons are a typical Morrocan cooking staple. It is so easy to make and keep for use. You only need lemons cut into wedges dredged with a lot of salt. Please check my other post on preserving lemons for detailed recipes.
- Chickpeas (presoaked) are a staple legume in North African cooking. It is the bean of choice to add fiber and protein to low-income family meals.
- Parsley and cilantro are primarily used together in Moroccan cooking but not so much in Algerian and Tunisian cuisines, which use one or the other.
- Onions are the base of any cooking recipe. They are also beneficial to our health, especially the digestive system. Studies have found that onions are notably high in vitamin C and can fight digestive tract cancers. Please refer to this article to read more about it.
How to make the cauliflower tajine?
Cooking the meat
In the old days, the cook set the clay tajine on coal, and the dish would require a long cooking time. Nowadays, we do not have that luxury of time ( or do we!?), so we always try to find ways to get dinner ready as fast as possible.
In this recipe, beef is the ingredient that would need the most time to cook. So, for a shortcut, we precook it before adding it to the tajine. If you use a regular pot, give it more time to cook before adding the vegetables.
Making the tajine
- Place diced onions, minced lemon preserves, chickpeas, and meat pieces on the tajine base. Then pour three to four tablespoons of cooking oil ( olive oil would be better) and turn on the fire to medium. Then place the lid (dome-shaped) and allow it to sizzle.
- Finely chop the cilantro and parsley and add them to the pot. Then season with salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin.
- Add enough water to cover the meat and allow to simmer, covered.
- Peel the potatoes cut them into bite-size cubes, and cut the cauliflower into florets.
- Once the meat starts feeling tender, place the vegetables on top. Spoon some of the sauce over them. Then cover and continue cooking the meat and veggies are done.
- Serve with good quality bread to soak up all the juices.
Cauliflower & Beef Tajine
- clay tajine you may use a regular pot for a shorter cooking time.
- 3 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. bone in-beef for stew
- 1 lb. cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 preserved lemon, minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 cup presoaked chickpeas If using canned, add them at the last 20 minutes.
- In the clay pot, place the onions, meat, and oil. Put the lid on and allow it to sizzle on medium flame.
- Once the onion becomes translucent, add the parsley, cilantro, preserved lemons, and spices. Then stir to coat before adding enough water ( preferably hot) to cover the beef. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes.
- When the meat becomes tender, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Spoon some sauce over them and simmer till done for abother 15 minutes.
- Adding green olives is optional, but it is common in North African cooking.