It's important to build the flavors for this slow-cooked, Moroccan-inspired beef pot roast: we use a tomato braising liquid that's spiked with a lemony mint puree and ras-el-hanout, a Moroccan spice mixture. It's served with tart, dried cherry-specked Israeli couscous that's brightened with a touch of lemon zest and fresh parsley.
Why this recipe works:
- A fragrant, lemony puree is added to the braising liquid once the meat is browned.
- A combination of fresh and dried herbs and spices ramps up the flavor.
- Couscous is spiked with tart, dried cherries, lemon zest and parsley for a flavorful accompaniment.
Note: Ras-el-hanout, a Moroccan spice blend, can be made from scratch following this recipe, or purchased from most grocery stores with a good spice section (major mass-market spice companies like McCormick make it).
- For the Pot Roast:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
- 1 stalk celery, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon ras-el-hanout (see note)
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 whole lemon, pierced several times with a fork
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- For the Couscous:
- 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 cup dried, tart cherries, chopped
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the Pot Roast: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until nearly smoking. Season roast with salt and pepper and brown meat on one side, about 4 minutes total. Flip roast, scatter onion, carrot, and celery all around, and continue to cook, stirring vegetables occasionally until roast is browned on second side, about 4 minutes. Add beef stock and tomatoes, scraping up any browned buts from bottom of the Dutch oven, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, ras-el-hanout, paprika, mint, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Scrape ras-el-hanout mixture into Dutch oven and stir to combine. Add the whole lemon, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until roast is fork-tender, about 2 1/2 hours total, removing lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Meanwhile, For the Couscous: Combine chicken stock, garlic, and cherries in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add couscous, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Strain out extra broth if necessary and discard garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Add parsley and lemon zest. Stir to combine and cover to keep warm.
Discard bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and whole lemon from pot roast and skim fat from the surface. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve meat and vegetables with couscous, spooning gravy on top.
Dutch oven, blender