Recipe Details

Moroccan-Inspired Country-Style Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Marinating Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6


Cook to 145 F with 3 minute rest


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

Couscous Cakes:

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

Cooking Directions

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.

Makes 6 servings
Nutrition per serving of rib ragu
click here for Couscous Cakes nutritionals 

Serving Suggestions

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

Nutrition Information

Calories: 660 calories
Protein: 39 grams
Fat: 46 grams
Sodium: 1160 milligrams
Cholesterol: 135 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 23 grams
Fiber: 8 grams

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About the Cooking Method: Braising

1. Coat meat lightly with seasoned flour, if desired.
2. In a large, heavy pan with lid, brown meat on all sides in a small amount of oil; remove excess drippings from pan.
3. Cover meat with desired liquid(s).
4. Cover pan and simmer over low heat on stove or in a low to moderate (275 to 300 degrees F.) oven for 1 to 3 hours, until tender.
5. If adding vegetables, add toward end of cooking time, during the last 20 to 45 minutes.

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