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Tajine of Beef and Cardoon (Kharchouf)

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cookingwithalia
In English it is called 'Cardoon', in French 'Cardon, in Italian 'Cardone', and in Moroccan 'Kharchouf', I am talking about a very popular vegetable in Morocco and the Mediterranean region, that is not so well-known in the U.S. Cardoon looks like a giant Celery but it tastes very different. It has a deep earthy flavor that goes well with meat.

Cooking Recipe

Ingredients:
1.5 pounds of beef short ribs (you can also use lamb instead)
1 large onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
A large pinch of saffron
1 large bunch of cardoon
Lemons
Water
Optional: preserved lemon

Directions:
Cleaning the Cardoon:
1- Remove the leaves at the top of the cardoon
2- Cut the base of the cardoon to separate the stalks
3- Peel the top of the stalk to remove the strings
4- The inside of the cardoon stalk also has a thin skin that needs be removed. First, cut the stalk into pieces about three or four inches, then remove the inter thin skin with the tip of the knife.
5- Place the cleaned pieces in a bowl containing cold water and immediately squeeze lemon juice over them otherwise they will turn brown. Throw in the piece of lemon in the water as well.

Cooking the Meat:
1- On medium heat, drizzle the olive oil in your pot. Add the onion, garlic, meat and spices.
2- Cover the pot and let the meat cook for the next 10 mn. Stir from time to time.
3- After 10 mn, add the cleaned cardoon (drained from the lemon-water) to the meat.
4- Cover the meat and cardoon with water (5 cups), cover your pot, and let the meat/cardoon cook on high heat until the water starts boiling.
5- Once the sauce starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and let the cardoon and meat cook until done (approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes).
6- Check on the meat/cardoon from time to time and add water as necessary - the meat should be cooking in a sauce at all times, you dont want it to be dry or too watery.

Final Steps:
1- After 1 hour and 45 minutes of cooking the meat / cardoon, you can add the preserved lemon pre-washed in water (to remove the saltiness) and cut in quarters.
2- Taste the sauce and adjust the spices accordingly.
3- Uncover the pot, and let the tajine simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken.

Serving the Tajine:
1- To serve this dish, first place the meat in the plate,cover it with the cardoon then pour the sauce on top.
2- Serve with Moroccan bread or French baguette.

Tajine of Beef and Cardoon (Kharchouf)
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