“Spicy, fragrant and sweet, the perfect beef tagine doesn’t need special equipment, just time. ”
- 600 g stewing beef
- 1 onion
- ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
- olive oil
- 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
- 1 x 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
- 800 ml organic vegetable stock
- 800 g butternut squash
- 100 g prunes
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- SPICE RUB
- 1 level tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
- 1 level tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 level tablespoon sweet paprika
- Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook, peel and finely chop the onion, and pick the coriander leaves, finely chopping the stalks.
- Heat a generous lug of oil in a tagine or casserole pan over a medium heat, add the meat and fry for 5 minutes to seal. Add the onion and coriander stalks and fry for a further 5 minutes.
- Drain and tip in the chickpeas, followed by the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir well. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a low heat for 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile, deseed and chop the squash into 5cm chunks, then destone and roughly tear the prunes. Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until lightly golden, then tip into a bowl.
- When the time’s up, add the squash, prunes and remaining stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it, adding splashes of water, if needed.
- At this stage, remove the lid and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, more with the lid off – the beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season to taste.
- Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds. Serve with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.
Ras el hanout (Arabic for “top of the shop”) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.
Source: Jamie Oliver