Stupid-Easy Recipe for Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes (#1 Top-Rated)


For this pork and beans dish, I’m inspired by the Berber classic from North Africa, named for the earthenware pot traditionally used for simmering lamb or chicken stew. Tagine also refers to the stew itself. Here Moroccan spicing brings out the best in boneless blade chops, which are from the loin nearest the shoulder. These thick chops are well marbled, full-flavored, and often called “Boneless Pork Loin Country-Style Ribs”.

Recipe courtesy of Grand Champion of the popular cooking competition, “Chopped” and winner of “Iron Chef America” — Chef Madison Cowan on behalf of the National Pork Board

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes.

1. Info for Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes

  • Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Servings: 6

2. Ingredients for Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes

  • 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 black pepper, freshly ground
  • 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-oz can chopped tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 cup chicken broth, canned low-sodium or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 1/2-oz can chickpeas, (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup 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 black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

3. Directions:

  1. For the pork chops: Put pork cubes in a large bowl and toss with oil. Mix 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp ginger, and 1 tsp cumin, Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over pork and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 3 hours. Reserve remaining spice mixture.
  2. To make the 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, 2 sprigs thyme, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and 2 bay leaves to the skillet and sauté together about 4 minutes, adding more by the tablespoon, if needed. Stir in the 6 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining reserved spices from step 1 and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, 1 cup broth, and tomato paste and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large sauce pan. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken and vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in chickpeas. Bury the pork in the sauce and cover. Simmer until the pork is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the couscous cakes: Bring 1 1/2 cup stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the couscous, almonds, currants, chives, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp 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. Press couscous mixture into six 3-inch-wide cakes. Transfer to a plate and let stand 5 minutes.
  6. Heat 3 Tbs 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.
  7. 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.

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