Tag Archives: Mourad

July 4th, Moroccan Style

25 Jun

July 4th is around the corner and my grocery store and local meat market are stocking up on ribs and burger buns, corn-on-the-cob and potato salads, cole slaw and watermelons, and of course, apple, cherry and blueberry pies, all in preparation for this weekend’s  Independence Day cook-outs.

While I enjoy traditional American fare, I was thrilled to serendipitously find a copy in our public library of Mourad New Moroccan (Artisan, 2011) — and in its pages, recipes that will work perfectly for a 4th of July BBQ with a Mediterranean flair (sidenote: Morocco, like Spain and France, is bordered by both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea).  Now, I can cook up a July Fourth picnic that is ethnically “blended” — in much the same ways as I am.

The menu, inspired by recipes in Chef Lahlou’s cookbook, includes Short Rib Tangia; Herb Salad; Roasted corn with Harissa butter; smashed potatoes with olive oil, garlic and salt; and Watermelon Granita.  Below are my improvised recipe for the ribs, corn on the cob using Lahlou’s Harissa butter recipe, and Lahlou’s granita.

And if you happen to be in San Francisco over the holiday weekend and don’t feel like cooking, you can visit Lahlou’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Mourad.


Chef Mourad Lahlou, Photo John Storey/Special to the Chronicle


Short Rib Tangia.  Lahlou’s recipe calls for brining short ribs overnight and cooking with preserved lemons, but I was in a hurry when I tested it out, so this is my shortcut (no brining, no preserved lemons), which I know borders on heresy, but my guests nevertheless declared it delicious.

Serves 6.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat a film of oil (I used olive) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add short ribs (1 pound per person) in batches, meat-side down, and sear until browned (about 4 minutes).  Turn over, and sear the other side until browned, and then quickly sear each narrow side.  Remove to plate.

Melt 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter in Dutch oven, then add one 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced, and 10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin.  Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in 2 quarters preserved lemons (I substituted slices from one fresh lemon), then add the meat, bone side down, and 12 flat-leaf parsley sprigs and 10 cilantro sprigs tied with kitchen twine. Pour in enough beef or vegetable stock (about 8 cups) to cover the meat, add 1 teaspoon saffron threads, and bring to simmer.

Cover, place in oven, and cook for about four hours or until completely tender.  Remove from oven and let ribs rest in pot while you make the sauce:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ladle off any fat that rose to the top of the braising liquid.  Strain into a large saucepan and simmer for about 45 minutes to reduce to about 2 cups.  Stir in 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature.  Pour over ribs and serve.


Roasted Corn with Harissa Butter.  

Grill or steam corn on the cob, then rub with softened unsalted butter whipped with Lahlou’s recipe for Harissa Powder and chopped cilantro.  Make the butter before-hand, form into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.

Harissa Powder (p. 85 in Mourad New Moroccan):  Combine the following ingredients in a bowl, transfer to tightly sealed jar and store at room temperature for up to six months: 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Aleppo pepper, 1-1/2 Tablespoons granulated garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons citric acid, 2-1/4 teaspoons Spanish paprika, 2-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoons roasted garlic powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground caraway, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne.


Watermelon Granita. Makes 6 cups.

Quarter 1 small seedless watermelon, cut off the rind, and cut the watermelon into small chunks.  Place in blender and blend on the lowest speed.  Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Stir gently and skim off any foam.

Dampen piece of cheesecloth with water, wring it out, and line a strainer with it. Strain the juice into a bowl and add enough  simple syrup (combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan, bring to simmer, stir until sugar dissolves, let cool to room temperature) to sweeten to your taste.  Pour into a 9-inch square baking pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place in freezer. After about one hour, when the granita has begun to set, remove pan from freezer and scrape it with the tines of a fork to break up the frozen juice . . . Cover and return pan to freezer.  Repeat this process every 30 minutes until granita is completely frozen (it may take three to four times).  Serve garnished with mint sprigs. 





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