Kadjemoula

February 14, 2005 | By | COMMENTS

Remember when you were kid, there were always these toys that looked amazing on the box—like this rock tumbler I used to pine for at Toys R’ Us (yes, I was the kid who pined for a rock tumbler)–and when you got it home and took it out you thought it would be as easy as pie to tumble rocks, only there were all these complicated pieces and dad had to put it together and by the time he did you were bored and you didn’t want to tumble rocks anymore?

Well my new camera isn’t like that. I still love my new camera. My new camera took this picture of Kadjemoula tonight (which I will get to in a moment). As far as food porn goes, I think this is centerfold worthy: (click to enlarge)

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God, I love that picture (even though it’s a little off-center). That picture makes me pat myself on the back and say, “Back–aren’t you glad your front decided to get the camera that you got?” I’m the love child of Annie Lebowitz and James Beard! (The Kadjemoula is a James Beard recipe.)

But back to the rock tumbler for a moment. The frustrated child with new toy syndrome concerns Adobe Photoshop and iPhoto. The last hour was spent formatting the pictures in Photoshop (adjusting levels, colors and contrast) only to have iPhoto not recognize the changes. So I couldn’t post, as I usually do, all the refurbished images to my .mac homepage and so I can’t punctuate this post with pictures like I usually do. I mean, eventually I’ll figure it out. But it was all…going…so…slowly. And at least you got to see my centerfold Kadjemoula pic.

So what is Kadjemoula? It is North African Lamb and Beef Stew. The recipe comes from (come on, come on…can you guess it? I threw it in my bag today? Yes, of course, Amanda Hesser–because paperback cookbooks are easily portable and easily portable is to cookbooks what location is to real estate in my little world) Cooking For Mr. Latte as adapted from The New James Beard by James Andrews Beard.

I like the concept of this recipe. It’s beef and lamb but the spices are cinnamon and ginger and pepper and there’s dried prunes and apricots in it too. What’s that you say? You want to see a picture of the apricots? FINE, FINE…I’LL WASTE VALUABLE TYPEPAD SPACE AND POST THIS PICTURE OF DRIED APRICOTS LIKE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DRIED APRICOTS BEFORE. (Actually, these are dried Turkish apricots so they’re way special. I bought them from Whole Foods.*) (*And can we just talk about, for a second, how long the line was at Whole Foods tonight? IT WAS ENORMOUS. Seriously, it snaked all the way around the store. It was 15 minutes long. It’s madness, I tell you, madness!)

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So all of this goes in a large pot and after browning the meat (which has been coated with flour in a plastic bag) it stews for 2 hours while you make important phonecalls. When time’s getting close you can make cous cous to soak up the juices. I highly recommend this. Do you really need to see the cous cous? You REALLY need to see it? YOU ARE SO PUSHY.

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I really enjoyed this stew. Once again, like with my Beef Bourguignon, the beef wasn’t so flavorful. (The lamb was flavorful, but not the beef). But Amanda never tells you to season the beef, so I can only think I didn’t brown it enough. But Amanda says, “Brown it quickly” so maybe it’s not that. The sauce, though–the broth, rather–makes the not so salty beef forgivable. And how often do you make North African stews? I’d imagine not often. So whip out your Cooking For Mr. Latte and make this sometime. It won’t disappoint. It ain’t no rock tumbler.

Categories: Recipes, Stews

  • http://www.joannou.net brian w

    Off-center is supposedly better for photos. When I was a kid my dad told me to imagine a tic-tac-toe board overlaid over the viewfinder and to put the focal item at one of the four places where the lines crossed instead of in the center. Try it sometime! Envision the board! Envision the board!

    (Also, I was totally the kid who wanted the rock tumbler, too. I am so ashamed.)

  • haha

    i pined for (and got!) a microscope instead. i don’t want to think what either a microscope or a rock tumbler would do to a perfectly lovely North African stew.

  • Mark

    Finally your photos are nearly as good as your writing! Great improvement.

  • http://angusindex.blogspot.com emily

    Sweet fancy Moses! That photo could be on the cover of ‘Bon Appetit’! Way to go, Mom and Dad Gourmet — you gave a gift to us all. :)

  • http://vidiot.typepad.com Vidiot

    Secret Whole Foods tip: If you have fewer than five items, none of which have to be weighed, go to the coffee bar, get coffee or tea, and have them ring up everything else. It’s much less of a wait.

  • Emily

    I totally understand your pain. I’m in a media design class I get so lost with Photoshop. Sometimes it makes me want to cry. Great photo by the way

  • http://fingerineverypie.typepad.com Julie

    I’ve been wanting to make this, and had it planned for a dinner for friends in a couple of weeks, ‘specially since one of them requested lamb. After your comment about the beef, though, I’m wondering if I should do an all-lamb version.

  • valentine

    I am confused. This looks like a weird mix of 2 different North-African dishes. I am from Paris and therefore a self-proclaimed expert in Maroccan and Algerian food: what we call Couscous (the dish) is a kind of pot-au-feu business with beef, lamb, chicken and broth vegetables, which is served with couscous (the cereal) and chickpeas. Tajine is a stew which usually involves lamb meat with something sweet like apricots or prunes and honey. And no couscous! This Kajemoula thing, photogenic as it was, seemed like some kind of hybrid. So here’s my theory: the beef tasted out of place because it works much better with the broth thing. On the contrary, lamb, which has a stronger flavour, works very well with apricots or prunes.

  • rachel

    You know what made all the difference to the flavor of beef in my stews and soups and so on? A great big Le Creuset pot. I know, I know, those suckers are EXPENSIVE, and I would never be able to have one if it hadn’t been a gift, but…it really changed my whole life. Somehow you get the perfect brown crust but it stays really tender on the inside, and even the flavor is better. I have no idea why, but I’m happy.

  • http://www.lisabug.net lisa

    Lovely photo. I’m so glad you’ve got a camera again. Once you’ve had one, it’s really hard to live without one, isn’t it?

    I wanted a rock tumbler too, but what I really pined for was a Barbie RV. Never got either, thank goodness.