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Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu
with Couscous Cakes

Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous CakesRecipe courtesy of the National Pork Board.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless blade pork steaks, or pork loin country-style ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika, Spanish or Hungarian
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced and washed well
2 large carrots, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with their juices
1 cup chicken broth, canned low-sodium or homemade
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cilantro , coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, coarsely chopped

Couscous Cakes:
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, or stock
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons chives, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, freshly ground
2 large egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Pork: Put pork cubes in a large bowl and toss with oil. Mix paprika, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, ginger and cumin. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over pork and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours. Reserve remaining spice mixture.
  2. For Tagine: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate.
  3. Add more oil to the skillet if needed. Add leeks, carrots, cinnamon, thyme, red pepper flakes and bay leaves to the skillet and sauté together about 4 minutes, adding more oil by the tablespoon, if needed. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining spices and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, broth, and tomato paste and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large sauce pan.
  4. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken and vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in chickpeas. Bury the pork in the sauce and cover. Simmer until the pork is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the Couscous Cakes: Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the couscous, almonds, currants, chives, lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir well. Remove from heat and cover tightly for 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in yolks. Form couscous mixture into 6 (3-inch-wide) cakes. Transfer to a plate and let stand 5 minutes.
  7. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry cakes, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  8. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs and transfer tagine to a serving dish. Sprinkle cilantro and mint on top and serve hot, with couscous cakes.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/6 of recipe): Calories: 660; Total Fat: 46g; Saturated Fat: 14g; Cholesterol: 135mg; Total Carbs: 23g; Fiber: 8g; Protein: 39g; Sodium: 1160mg.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of National Pork Board.