Saturday, 22 February 2014

Jamie Oliver's beef tagine

I only read the recipe for this as I was about to start cooking. Ideally the beef is supposed to chill, coated with the spices for a couple of hours or overnight, so the flavours penetrate the meat. I was short of time at this point and only had a few hours, it takes 3 hours to cook. So I just gave the meat a good massage with the spices and left it for a short time while I prepared all the other ingredients. This mishap by no means affected the flavour of this meal. It was a fragrant, wonderfully tender tagine, which will be on my list of favourite meals. It would be a good one to do in the slow cooker, as slow cooking could only improve the flavour. I would add the squash a a couple of hours before the end of cooking time, to avoid it becoming overcooked.I have just started using Instagram, and on following Jamie Oliver found this on his site as his recipe of the day. Looks like that will be a new source of inspiration for me.

Serves 3-4

600 g quality stewing beef
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
400 g tinned chickpeas, drained
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
800 ml organic vegetable stock
1 small squash, approximately 800g, deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
100 g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

For the spice rub
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
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. 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 1½ hours.
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 or rice.

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