On Wednesday I had a real urge for a tagine. It was just Alberto and I at home in the evening – no guests or friends over for dinner, so I hunted around for inspiration. I partly used a Jamie Oliver recipe, partly a bit from one of my Moroccan cook books and partly just chucked in a few ideas of my own. It came out rather well, although there was quite a bit of it – I had enough for dinner for two, plus a generous lunch for the following day!
600g of braising steak, diced
1 x 440g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 440g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated and chopped
Leaves from a small bunch of parsley, chopped
500ml of beef stock
½ a small squash, approximately 300g, peeled, deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
40g of stoned prunes, roughly torn
100g of petit pois
For the spice rub
Freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons of ras el hanout spice mix
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
Mix together the ingredients for the spice rub and dredge the pieces of diced beef in the rub. (At least one recipe I used for inspiration said to marinate the meat for two hours, however given that the cooking time for the dish is in excess of two hours, this might not be practical for you.)
Pre-heat the oven to 200
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned all over.
Add the chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and stir well to combine. You may wish to sprinkle over a little more of the spice mix too at this point.
Then pour in 400ml of the stock and stir. Bring to the boil. Once boiled transfer the whole dish to a tagine, cover with the lid and place in the pre-heated oven for an hour.
I stirred it occasionally during the hour, just to check on it.
After an hour, remove from the oven and add the diced butternut squash and the remaining 100ml of stock to the dish.
Stir, taste, season more if necessary and then return to the oven for a further 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes remove from the oven again, stir and add the peas and prunes and stir through. Cook in the oven, without the lid, for a further 15 minutes. (You may need to add a little water if it looks like drying out.)
At the end of the cooking time the meat should be tender, the squash cooked through and the sauce thickened.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and coriander leaves and serve with buttery cous-cous and garlic flatbread.