How did I forget about Ras el-Hanout? It was one of those gateway drugs- I mean spices- that got me started with a phase when I was obsessed with *attempting* Moroccan food. It’s been a while, but it’s good that I had it lying around when I ran out of other ideas. What else? Uh… what other random ingredients did I have at the time? Duck fat, fennel, and apples. Los geht’s.
Ras el-Hanout is a really interesting mix of savory and aromatic spices that works well with sweet, and even some bitter flavors. I decided to make an easy, gastropub style plate this time with some rib tips, and a quick “warm salad” since I was going for that insufferable trendy vibe. Here, I flashed apple, fennel and arugula in browned butter, and once I tasted it, I knew it was a winner. There’s just enough sweetness, and bitter anise flavor to keep everything balanced.
For the rib tips- there isn’t any fat on them, so I seared them in duck fat, and braised them with garlic, shallots, and Ras el-Hanout. Since the spice blend has a lot of cinnamon, and other spices that don’t handle high heat very well, this method gives you the benefits of searing, and full flavor. They come out as tender as those carnitas and despite their size, they are mighty indeed.
Combine with the apples and fennel, and you’ll have a plate worthy of the restaurant up-charge. That wasn’t too hard, was it? In fact…you might even say it was easy.
2 lb Rib Tips
1 Fennel Root, sliced thinly
1 Apple, sliced thinly
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
3 Cups Arugula
2 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Duck Fat
1 Tbs Ras el-Hanout
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 Tbs Dried Rosemary
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Season the rib tips with salt, and onion powder.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a heavy pan on med-high heat with the duck fat. Sear the rib tips in batches on all sides.
- Add all the meat back to the pan once seared, add minced shallot, garlic, rosemary, and Ras el-Hanout. Top with water, cover with foil, and transfer the pan to the oven and cook until tender (roughly thirty minutes).
- Brown the butter in a separate pan, then sauté sliced apples and fennel. Stir rapidly, then add salt, pepper, and arugula and remove from the heat while the apples are still crisp.
- Plate and serve