Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes Recipe
For this Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style pork and beans dish, Chopped Champion and Iron Chef Madison Cowan was 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.”
Makes 6 servings
- 2 pounds boneless blade chops (pork loin country-style ribs), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Spanish or Hungarian sweet paprika
- 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 of fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chile flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with their juices
- 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup couscous
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the pork chops: 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 and up to 3 hours. Reserve remaining spice mixture.
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.
Add more oil to the skillet if needed. Add leeks, carrots, cinnamon, thyme, chili flakes and bay leaves to the skillet and sauté together about 4 minutes, adding more 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. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken and vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in chickpeas. Bury the pork in the sauce and cover. Simmer until the pork is just tender, about 10 minutes.
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. Press couscous mixture into six 3-inch-wide cakes. Transfer to a plate and let stand 5 minutes.
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.
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.
Want more? Check out Chef Madison’s recipe for Pork Loin Chops with Chinese Five Spice Spice Glaze
and his Grilled Pork Chops with Chorizo, Dates, and Manchego Stuffing.
Celebrity chef, Chopped Grand Champion and Iron Chef America winner, Madison Cowan boasts stints cooking in London, Jamaica, Detroit and even for the U.S. Coast Guard. This worldly chef is known for blending diverse inspirations from around the globe – and cooking from the soul. You can read more about Chef Madison at www.madisoncowan.com/