Slow-cooked beef tongue Moroccan style

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Moroccans have 2 majors ways of cooking the tongue: steam and serve with salt and cumin or cook it “mchermel-style”. The latter dish is bolder and there are days where I can’t just have it any other way.


Slow-cooked Moroccan beef tongue. – Credit @Nada Kiffa

Can I convince you to give this recipe a go? You could be fighting off with your brain which command you to feel squeamish about tongue or any offal for that matter.

If you like pulled meat, tender and falling off the bone, then Moroccan slow-cooked tongue fits the bill.


Ways of cooking Moroccan beef tongue recipe

Moroccan beef tongue recipe required slow-cooking in a dutch oven (2 hours), a well sealed Tangia-style clay urn (up to 4 hours) or a pressure cooker (1 hour).

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Moroccan slow-cooked beef tongue

  • 1 kg tongue (beef's tongue, trimmed)
  • 2 tbsp coriander (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (grated or crushed )
  • 1 onion (Spanish or brown, small, chopped)
  • 1 tomato (grated and only pulp kept)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or slightly more)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika (paprika paste will do)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp harissa (to taste, optional)

For finishing and garnishing

  • green olives
  • ¼ preserved lemon (only the skin/rind)
  • 1 ½ tsp white vinegar
  1. Watch the video for all steps to cook Moroccan beef tongue with chermoula

Moroccan slow-cooked beef tongue keeps well in the freezer. 

You could also substitute the tongue for oxtail or the neck. They require less cooking time and are equally flavoursome.


A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif- Fez- Morocco

Moroccan stuffed spleen recipes


Stuffed lamb, beef or camel spleen is a big thing in Morocco. It’s a bit of a bumper that I can’t find it halal in the UK for some health and safety restrictions but it’s one of the things I’d like to have every now and then.

Now if you are familiar with Moroccan street food you may have seen little pockets over charcoal, grilling alongside brochettes d’agneau (lamb skewers) or kefta. Think of it as a massive fat boudin/sausage.


A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif- Fez- Morocco

A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif/Fez- Morocco. Credit @Nada Kiffa

Stuffed spleen part of Moroccan street food

The thing is that the version of grilled spleen found in the street food joints, no matter how appealing it smells and looks, it’s usually stuffed with a chermoula mix and fat/suet. The homemade versions are more compact and rich in ingredients.

It’s crazy how much a spleen can take in in term of stuffing. It’s a bit like a sock, the more you fill the more goes in. You will know when it’s seriously overstuffed and about to burst, which is something to avoid.

Stuffed spleen is either chargrilled, or cooked in a saucepan or oven-baked (best option when you have the big ones to handle).

It’s also freezer-friendly and really packs a punch especially if one is suffering from iron deficiency.

My other recipe on

Christine Benlafquih is an incredible expert in Moroccan food. She’s a reference in the field and I highly suggest you visit her page for more authentic Moroccan recipes of all sorts. She’s also a friend of mine and she has documented a stuffed spleen in the making. My mother has shared one of her old recipes and Christine has captured some nice photos with her camera. Please have a look at the details on how to handle a large spleen which you can adjust to different sizes.

This post is only to suggest some of the stuffing combinations you may encounter in Morocco, depending on the families, the regions..The quantities of ingredients vary depending on the size of the spleen but also on one’s preferences. It’s not a precise recipe.

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1/ Stuffed spleen with rice (the version posted by Christine here)

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice and offal

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice and offal. Credit @Nada Kiffa



  • 1 veal or beef spleen, trimmed of fat
  • 500 g (1 lb. 3 oz.) finely ground beef or lamb (or a mix of the two)
  • 250 g (8 oz.) suet (chehma), finely chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pitted olives
  • 1 or 2 preserved lemons (flesh only, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 head of garlic, pressed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or red pepper paste or harissa)
  • 1 generous tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 generous tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste



2/ Stuffed lamb spleens with suet and chermoula (small spleen pockets)


  • lamb spleen
  • onion, finely chopped
  • Chermoula (green version, add chili/cayenne to your liking). This recipe calls for a good dose of it.
  • Diced  fat/suet.
  • Chopped green olives (optional)

This option of stuffed spleen is ideally char grilled. Oven-baked is the second option. It takes less time due to the size.

3/ Stuffed spleen with heart, liver and kidney

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice, offal and eggs

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice, offal and eggs. Credit @Nada Kiffa

  • Heart of a lamb or calf, diced and sauteed for a couple of minutes
  • Liver of lamb or calf, peeled and membrane discarded, diced in small pieces
  • A kidney or two for a dept of flavour, peeled and membrane discarded, diced.
  • Green olives, chopped
  • Preserved lemon, chopped
  • Fine Chinese rice vermicelli or rice, precooked al dente. This ingredient should represent less than the 1/5 of the whole filling.
  • Chermoula

You can also use a blender to have a compact fine paste and fill the spleen with it.

4/ Stuffed spleen with Moroccan spiced kefta, calf’s liver and rice


  • A portion of liver of lamb or calf, peeled and membrane discarded, diced in small pieces
  • Moroccan spiced kefta (minced beef or lamb or mixed with salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin). 
  • Precooked rice al dente. This ingredient should represent less than the 1/3 of the whole filling.
  • Green olives, chopped
  • Chermoula
So if you are feeling brave to have a go at any of those fillings, make sure you follow the details on how to cook this wonderful offal to perfection from Christine’s recipe description.
Should you have cooked spleen leftovers, you could fry them with an egg and make my dad’s quick dinner..

British steak and Kidney pie


Steak and kidney pie is, hands down, my favourite British dish. Since I started making it at home, I went for the 3 times National champion recipe right there and I never changed it since.

Passed the smell of kidney when it’s cooking in the first 15 minutes, you will be left with a wonderful filling to make one of the yummiest savoury pies in this world.

I serve steak and kidney pie at least twice a month. I  prepare small steak and kidney pies and freeze them unbaked. Then I thaw it in the fridge for a day and bake it at dinner time. Serve with salad on the side. Give this a try!

My recipe is adapted from The Windmill Mayfair. It even comes with a video.

Another steak and kidney pie baked in another occasion

Serves 6
Prep: 10 min – Cooking: 1 h – baking: 30 min

Savoury shortcrust dough (make it ahead of time)

  • 250 g of all purpose flour
  • 125 g of cold butter, in cubes (original recipes call for suet/shortening)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp of mustard
  • 3 – 5 tbsps of cold water
  • 650 g of beef steak at room temperature (for fast cooking) or skirt/brisket/oxtail, top side for long cooking
  • 250 g of kidney (beef or lamb), membrane peeled, cut into small cubes
  • 100 g of white mushroom, chopped (add other mushrooms for deep flavour)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 20 g of corn starch or flour
  • 2 tbsps of Worcester sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon or English mustard
  • 2 tbsps of tomato sauce, ketchup or a chopped tomato (optional for me)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme or a sprig fresh
  • 2 tbsps of parsley
  • 3 tbsps of oil (original recipe calls for dripping)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 250 ml of water or beef stock (initial recipe calls for beer too)

Egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp of milk or water


And another steak and kidney pie in another different occasion


Make the dough 
Mix the flour with parsley, salt and pepper. Rub the butter in to make crumbs (or use a food processor with a blade).

Add the rest of the ingredients and quickly bring everything to a dough without overworking it. Slightly flatten to make an “abaisse”. Wrap with cling film and freeze for 15 min or place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Make the steak and kidney filling


In a large pan, heat the oil. Add sliced or chopped onions and cook them for a few minutes until soft.

Add in batches of chopped meat (or cut in small cubes) so it fries instead of boiling (too much meat in the meat will cause steaming). Stir. Cook for a few minutes.

Dust the flour into the pan and stir from the bottom of the pan. The mix will darken a bit and that’s good. 

Add the kidney, the chopped or sliced mushrooms. Stir. Give it a couple of minutes then add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley. Stir and cover. Bring to a simmer on low heat for 60 – 80 min if using long cooking meat or 30 min if using fast cooking meat. In the end of the cooking process, you want the meat to be tender and the sauce to turn to a nice gravy with a body.

Season to taste and allow to cool.

In a pie dish or medium-size ramekins, place a bit of filling (at your discretion). Cover with rolled dough. Trim around the edge but be generous on the sides so the dough does not fall in the middle of pie dish. 

Egg wash, make patterns with a knife or a fork. Make a hole in the middle so the pie breaths the steam out.

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C and bake at 180 degrees C for 30 – 40 min until nicely golden.

Serve slightly warm or just about room temperature.


Sometimes, I do sneak in some vegetables such as peas, spinach or carrots.


A serving of Moroccan brain starter cooked with tomatoes

Moroccan cow/calf or sheep brain’s with tomato sauce and chermoula

Sheep’s brain is of Moroccan dishes we cook during Eid Al Fitr (feast of sacrifice). But in Fez, It’s served as a cooked starter during family gatherings and usually the plates go back empty.

There are 2 ways to make this meal starter: It can be cooked with tomatoes or without. If you want to make a meal out of it, crack eggs at the end of the cooking process and scramble them in the sauce.

A serving of Moroccan brain starter cooked with tomatoes

Moroccan sheep brain cooked for Eid. Credit @Nada Kiffa

This cooked Moroccan starter is cooked “Mchermel” style. The vinegar (not lemon) adds an acidic note to the spiced tomato sauce which has a bit if chermoula mix in it. It balances the dish perfectly.


Serves 6
Prep: 15 min – cooking: 30 min

  • 4 sheep brains or 2 calf brains
  • 3 medium-size tomatoes, seeded and peeled then grated or finally chopped (optional)
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional, for colour and acidity)
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp of coriander, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil



  • Wash the brains. Basically sheep’s brain hardly needs any peeling, You just discard any bloody bit while if you have bought calf’s brain, you will need to peel off all the veins and the bloody bits. Do it delicately using your fingers.
  • To ease up the process, you can dip the brain in boiling water with  a couple of tablespoons of vinegar for 30 seconds (no more) and pull it out.
Optionally, you can marinate the brain in vinegar, spices and herbs and cook it later
  • Cut the brain into chunks and mix them with the herbs, spices and vinegar. Set aside while the tomato sauce is in the making.
  • Over medium heat, mix the tomatoes with the garlic, stir and cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of water and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the chunks of brain into the sauce, stir and make sure all sides have been in contact with the tomato mix. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, the sauce should have thickened by them.
  • Stir in the olive oil just after you knock off the heat.


Moroccan cow or lamb brain can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. We always serve it as a starter.

The sheep or calf brain in tomato sauce keeps up to 4 days in the fridge.