Olives Stuffed with Ground Beef in Piquant Tomato Ragout

Anaheim’s are very popular in Southwestern US Cuisine. Also called “New Mexican Chile”. These were developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia in New Mexico about 100 yrs ago who was seeking a chile pepper that was bigger, fleshier, and milder.

They got the name “Anaheim” when a farmer named Emilio Ortega brought these seeds to the Anaheim area in the early 1900′s. This chile can be roasted and peeled and used in recipes or stuffed to make chile rellenos just as the Poblano Chile.

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For the Tabil:

1 large garlic clove, chopped and left to dry in the open air for 2 days, or 2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the Harisa:

2 oz. mildly hot dried guajillo chiles
2 oz. mild dried Anaheim chiles
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping off
1/2 tsp. freshly ground caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
1-1/2 tsp. salt

For the olives:

1/2 pound ground beef
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley leaves (3-4 bunches)
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
1 tsp. Tabil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds pitted large green olives, drained
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. Harisa
1-1/4 cups water


To make the Tabil:

In a mortar, pound all the ingredients together completely. Store in the refrigerator if using fresh garlic for up to 2 months, or indefinitely, in a spice container, if using powdered garlic, although the pungency will decline as time goes by. Makes 1/4 cup.

To make the Harisa:

Soak the chiles in tepid water to cover until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and remove the stems and seeds then place the chiles in a food processor with the garlic, water and olive oil. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.

Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the caraway and coriander seeds, and salt. Store in a jar in the refrigerator, covering the surface of the paste with a layer of olive oil. As you use the Harisa, make sure to top it off with a little olive oil so that it is never exposed to the air to prevent spoilage. Properly topped off with olive oil so bacterial growth cannot occur, Harisa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Makes 1 cup.

To make the olives:

In a large bowl, knead together the beef, parsley, onion, egg, tabil, salt, and black pepper. Stuff the olives with this stuffing, using a small, narrow baby spoon or the handle of a teaspoon.

In a casserole, preferably earthenware, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the diluted tomato paste, red pepper flakes, Harisa, 1 tsp. of salt and the water. Bring to a boil and add the olives. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the meat is done (youll need to taste one), about 1 hour.

Serve the olives with the sauce if serving this dish as an appetizer at the table or serve with cocktail toothpicks if serving as a passed appetizer.

Yields 8 servings as plated appetizers.

Recipe by Clifford A. Wright from Little Foods of the Mediterranean (Harvard Common Press, 2003).