We Rocked the Casbah

Been a cold old day here in the UK and the early signs of a cold winter are starting to appear. That means only one thing, Comfort food !

It just so happens that we have recently purchased a lovely royal blue tagine so what a perfect opportunity to give it a test. What kind of tagine to make was the next dilemma. So, at this point it is only fair that I thank Mr Jamie “Pukka” Oliver for a fantastic recipe for “Beef Chickpea & Butternut Squash Tagine”, though we did amend it slightly to make it our own.

Please note that you can use any kind of pot for this though I’m sure you’ll agree it looks pretty cool served in an authentic tagine. . .

Ingredients:

800g Beef Braising Steak – 400g Cooked Chickpeas – 1 Large Butternut Squash – 400g Tinned Plum Tomatoes – 1 Large Onion – 600ml Beef Stock – 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout – 1 tbsp Cinnamon – 1 tbsp Ground Ginger – 1 tbsp Cumin – 1 tbsp Paprika – 4 Cloves Sliced Garlic – Fresh Coriander – Salt & Pepper

Method:

Mix the ras el hanout, cinnamon, paprika, cumin & ginger in a bowl and add the beef and massage the spice mix into the meat. Set aside to allow the flavour of the spices to penetrate into the beef. ( Ideally overnight ) Heat some olive oil in the tagine and fry the beef for around 5 minutes until browned on the outside. Meanwhile slice the onion and add to the browned beef along with the tin of tomatoes, chickpeas, sliced garlic and half of the beef stock. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Place the tagine into the oven at 170c / 325f / Gas 3 and allow to cook for approximately 1.5 – 2  hours. At this point give the tagine a stir and add the butternut squash and remaining stock. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 1 – 1.5 hours. The beef should now be incredibly tender and break apart with a spoon. Sprinkle with fresh coriander, serve the beef tagine with cous cous and warm flatbread. . .

Note: 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.

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