Moroccan Pork with Ras el Hanout

bob_cville

We were visiting my wife's family in St. Petersburg, FL this year for New Years, which was a big change from the past several years where the family all met in Montpelier, VT.


As usual different people were responsible for making dinner each night while there. One dinner was Chicken Marbella, others were Roast Prime Rib, Breaded Lemon Chicken, and Roast Beef Tenderloin.


For my night I looked up a recipe that I concocted one evening when someone had given me a large platter of dried fruit, and I was trying figure out what to do with it. The original result turned out so well that I wrote it down as best as I could remember and posted it in a thread titled "What's Cookin' This Weekend", and then tried it again the next day to further refine the amounts used.


At New Years it received rave reviews, (except from the one person who doesn't eat pork) but given how hard it was to find the original post I decided to re-post the recipe.

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bob_cville

This is the original recipe that I followed pretty faithfully, although because of the number of people I doubled it. My version was "inspired by" this recipe:

https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/moroccan-pork-tagine-recipe.htm


Moroccan Pork with Ras el Hanout

1 pork tenderloin cut into 1" cubes

1 Tbsp Ras el Hanout spice blend.

14 dried apricots (sliced)

10 prunes (sliced)

10 dates (pitted and sliced)

1 dried something (it might have been a fig, but I'm not sure)

1 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon chicken flavor

1 medium yellow onion diced

2 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 tsp dried cilantro

1/3 cup frozen green peas

1 1/2Tbsp canola oil

1 1/2 cup water

1 package Near East brand Mediterranean Curry Couscous

(optional) a jar of Harissa (a North African spicy chili paste)

Add oil to large flat bottomed pan over medium high heat

Add onion and cook it until it starts to become translucent

Dredge pork in Ras al Hanout spice blend and add to pan.

When pork is well browned and the spices have bloomed in the oil add the garlic and stir for another minute.

Add all of the dried fruit, the bouillon, and the water.

Stir and bring to a low boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

prepare couscous according to package directions.

Add peas and cilantro, remove lid and simmer for another 5-10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Serve over the couscous, and (optional) top with Harissa (to taste)

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bob_cville

I later figured out that the "dried something" in the original version was a dried plum, although how that differs from the prunes (which are dried plums also) that were also on the original dried fruit plate, I don't know.

For New Years, I doubled the above recipe, and actually used a dried fig, which they happened to have in the pantry. I also used the plain variety of the Near East brand couscous and fresh cilantro, since the store I went to didn't have the Mediterranean Curry flavor, nor dried cilantro.

The hardest part of the recipe is finding the Ras el Hanout spice blend, apparently for which each different spice shop in Morocco has their own special, secret blend.

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nickel_kg

sounds delicious, especially after looking up what Ras el Hanout is!

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foodonastump

My wife says she doesn’t like dried fruit in her food, and I’ve long been thinking of putting that to the test by cooking Chicken Marbella. But she doesn’t do olives, either. This recipe sounds really good, so I think it’s going to become our test. Looks like I finally chucked some super old Ras el Hanout at some point but it’s easy for me to find; local grocery chain sells their own house blend. Just so happens I bought some tenderloins this morning. This test might happen sooner rather than later. Will report back!

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Elmer J Fudd

Was it George Carlin, or some other social observer (or "standup philosopher" a la Mel Brooks in History of the World Part I) who had a routine about words you never expect to hear together? Like "Oktoberfest Beer Bash at the Mormon Temple" or "The nuns are throwing a toga party on Friday".

Moroccan Pork is a good example of one. Maybe better to say "Pork with North African spices" to eliminate the distraction. Or, carry on as is and let people scratch their heads.

It does sound good. Pork tenderloin needs jolts of added flavor, it's pretty tasteless otherwise.

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nicole___

It sounds really good. Thanks for posting the recipe.

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matthias_lang

Gotta admit, my brain gets hung up on, "Moroccan Pooooorrrrrk?" I doubt there is a pig in all of Morocco.

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foodonastump

LOL then I guess it’s a good thing I’m not in Morocco because this pig made for a really tasty meal! Highly recommended. Thanks Bob!


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bob_cville

When I was originally making the dish I was planning on using the chicken that my wife said she was going to get from the store. However when I went to the fridge, the meat drawer only contained a pork tenderloin. I was at first mentally stymied by the thought of using pork in a "Moroccan" dish, but I didn't feel like making a special trip to the store. So I searched for "Moroccan Pork recipe" and Google returned 7 million results. So I figured it must be "a thing", and thought that perhaps the Berbers in Morocco might be the ones who eat pork. Is any case I read a few recipes, formed a plan and started chopping.

Apparently, according to this article from Australia, pigs in Morocco are "a thing" as well:

https://www.smh.com.au/world/pig-farms-bloom-in-muslim-morocco-20080401-gds7o9.html

and Elmer, partly I named that dish "Moroccan Pork" because it is an unusual pairing of words, which may make it easier for me to find the recipe again.

FOAS that looks delicious. What was the verdict from the wife on dried fruit in the food?

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foodonastump

No real verdict. The tenderloin was cooked two different ways to get the kids to eat it. Thicker simple “chop” for my daughter and thin breaded cutlets for my son. Offered my wife those options plus this third, and she opted for the cutlets. I made mine after and she did have one bite and said it was good, but I don’t think that’s a solid vote. I definitely enjoyed it enough to make again so next time she’ll join me and we’ll see for real.

By the way I think you meant “Near East” brand. I didn’t love the couscous by itself but it worked very well with your dish.

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bob_cville

You are correct. I've change the above posts to to say "Near East" brand rather than "Middle East" brand which would probably be much harder to find, since it doesn't exist.

I also remembered that we had a jar of Harissa on the table for people to add to the top after serving if they wanted to spice it up a little. I'll add that to the above recipe as well.

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bob_cville

I didn't think to take pictures of the meal, but a brother-in-law who has a food blog was there and he took some pictures. I checked his blog to see whether he had any pictures yet, but he seems really behind in posting, the most recent was dated September. However as I was scrolling through his blog I saw one picture and noticed "Hey, those are my plates"

This dish from a recent visit was the reason I had Ras el Hanout and Harissa in the house, which sparked the idea for the "Morrocan Pork" recipe.

https://cuisineeric.blogspot.com/2019/06/maple-harissa-moroccan-lamb.html

Maple Harissa Moroccan Lamb



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annie1992

Well, Bob, at least he put a picture of some of your food on his blog!

Your pork sounds good and FOAS sealed the deal with his picture, I'm definitely going to have to try that. I do have some Ras el Hanout that I mixed up myself courtesy of an internet search, and I have various dried fruits left over from Christmas baking, so I think I'm good to go, although I may have to make some fruit substitutions.

Thanks for the recipe, and the picture, even if the picture is lamb, LOL.

Annie

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salonva

It looks and sounds amazing. I too was a bit confused about Moroccan Pork or North African Pork .

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bob_cville

I've made this again recently, and this time I took a photo of the result.


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KatieC

I just got some Ras el Hanout seasoning from Spice House. I haven't tried it yet...this might be the perfect thing to start with. I have almost everything in the house. And one last jar of homemade harissa.

DH says he doesn't like fruit with meat, but I'm slowly turning him. He says that but always cleans his plate, lol.

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annie1992

KatieC, thanks for bringing this back up, we just picked up the pig we got from a local place. I didn't have them cut tenderloins, but I'm thinking another cut would also work. Elery can have all of my "optional" Harissa and I'll just eat the rest!

Annie

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

That looks great. I might try it with turkey tenderloin because we no longer eat pork. I think my DH probably doesn't like dried fruit in his food but I haven't tried since the Silver Palate Chicken Marbella incident so maybe he has mellowed in his old age - ha!

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I make this all the time but with boneless skinless chicken thighs so any poultry will work fine.

Interesting as I was reading through the recipe I started changing it as I do to suit us and being familiar making similar all the time....way too much dried fruit for one tenderloin...more garlic, fresh cilantro, add fresh ginger, ...I don't purchase packaged/processed anything, my own stocks, make my own spice blends, and condiments. Then clicked the original recipe linked so like that better. (no criticism on the changes as we all do that to suit our pantries)... haha it first posted 'suit our panties', (kinda like that)

BUT, what a great BIL food blog. ! Take a close look. Link again, HERE

Added 'Cuisine Eric' to my bookmark favorites.

If you click the upper right corner icon you get a sidebar list of gorgeous pictures to scroll through. Click for full screen, then click 'more' for recipe and lots of step-by-step pics without long winded instructions.

He is really good and passionate. NYTimes quality.

I circled the icon.

And the step-by-step


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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

You my be interested to know that that raising pork - pigs - is a big industry in Morocco. Catering primarily to the tourist trade and European expats.

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bob_cville

sleevendog, No criticism perceived. Even when it is my own recipe that I'm trying to follow, I will change it to suit what it on hand or my whim of the moment. If something turns out well, I simply try to remember and record the as-made recipe, as a sort of waypoint to help me find my way in the future.

My BIL is much more serious about cooking and recipes and blogging about it all. In fact he had a previous cooking blog http://cuisineici.blogspot.com/   that he reached the maximum amount of disk space and so he started a new blog at the address you looked at and linked to.

It is always a lot of fun team-cooking with him at family gatherings, he is always so enthusiastic about it all, but is also more than willing to take a back seat, work as sous chef, and simply help chop or stir or offer advice or opinions. At one family gathering, he was making suggestions to his son as a birthday dinner, and none of the suggestions were really grabbing his son (who is used to Eric's fantastic cooking). Since we were in Maine, I chimed in with "How about Lobster Mac and Cheese?" which his son decided on. We went to the local fish market and grocery store to get the ingredients, and Eric said "Well, it was your idea, I've never made Lobster Mac and Cheese, so your 'driving'. tonight."

Even his pictures that he took of my place when he visited turned out beautifully.


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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Compliments to your family gatherings and the meals enjoyed. Enjoy it and so special. I'm the food 'driver' in my family gatherings and also get giddy when a young one is interested in the process.

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Lars

Moroccan and North African are very different descriptions. Algeria, which is right next to Morocco has a very different cuisine. I love Algerian food, but it is more difficult to find. Algerian food is much less likely to have dried fruit with the meat and is not as sweet as Moroccan.

Bob, your plates are beautiful. Are they also African? I love that pattern.

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