Courtesy Mourad Lahlou, executive chef/owner, Mourad, San Francisco
At his San Francisco Moroccan restaurant, Mourad, Chef Mourad Lahlou combines fresh California ingredients with the beloved dishes of his homeland. Although the beef cheeks he serves at Mourad would be prepared in a tagine along with the vegetables, sous vide allows for more even cooking and consistent texture. If you don’t have a circulator, the braising technique below will still yield deliciously tender results.
- 6(5- to 6-ounce) beef cheeks or other tough cut of beef, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1pound yellow beets, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1pound purple-top turnips, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1pound celery root, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1pound rutabaga, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1½ cups dry white wine
- 4 cups carrot juice
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 red onions, small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, thin-sliced
- 2 cups tomato purée
- ¼ cup berberé spice blend
- 1 teaspoon fine-ground Aleppo pepper
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- Parsley, for garnish (optional)
Season beef cheeks with salt and pepper. In cast-iron pan over high heat, sear until browned on both sides. For sous vide method, transfer to bag, seal and cook at 164˚F for 16 hours. If braising, set aside.
For either cooking method, heat oven to 375˚F. Place vegetables on baking tray. Roast until fork tender, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Meanwhile, in heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, bring wine to boil. Add carrot juice and return to boil. Lower heat and simmer until reduced by one-third.
Add olive oil to large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until translucent. Add carrot juice mixture, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add tomato purée, berberé blend, vegetables and beef cheeks, if braising. Cook over low heat for 1 hour. Season with Aleppo pepper, Sherry vinegar and salt, to taste, just prior to serving. Top with beef cheeks, if sous vide, and garnish with parsley, if using. Serves 6.
Tara Patrick, wine director at Mourad, suggests La Ferme Rouge 2016 Terre Rouge, a Rhône-style red blend from Morocco. She says the richness of the meat and the rustic nature and slightly sweet character of the root vegetables pair perfectly with the earthiness and fruitiness in the wine.
A South Australian wine with bold fruit flavors and touches of spice, Yalumba 2017 The Y Series Shiraz also complements the down-to-earth flavors of the roasted root vegetables. Meanwhile, silky tannins dissolve on the palate with each bite of well-marbled beef.