Warm up this winter with this simple and delicious beef tagine by Jamie Oliver.
During these cold months there is nothing better than some cosy winter soul food. It just so happened that the latest Cookbook Challenge theme was 'hearty'.
This recipe comes from the Jamie Oliver mini cookbook which also happened to be one of my May Favourites. The cookbook is a miniature version of 'Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece & France' - now that's a mouthful!
I've already made it twice once with beef and once with lamb and Pete and I both love it. The spices blend together really well resulting in a gorgeous combination of classic Moroccan flavours. I also love the fact that you can use a cheaper cut of meat and the the slow cooking ensures the meat is very tender and just falls apart, yum!
The best thing about this dish is that you can throw it on the stove and it pretty much cooks itself. With the addition of the pumpkin, prunes and more stock at half time you can just sit back and relax while it does the rest. It's a simple and delicious dish that I am sure your family will love. If you don't own a tagine don't worry, we don't either. I just use our cast iron dutch oven but any heavy based saucepan will do the trick.
We serve it with cous cous but you can have it on its own or it would probably taste great with creamy mash if you prefer it.
I have adapted the recipe slightly
600g stewing beef
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
800ml vegetable stock
1 small squash (approximately 800g),deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
2 tablespoons flaked almonds toasted ( Optional)
For the spice rub
sea salt and freshly ground
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix*
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
(*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)
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with cling film and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight - that way the spices really penetrate and flavour the meat.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole– type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.
At this point, add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.
Once the time is up, take the lid off 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 with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.
Tell me, what's your favourite winter warming dish?