Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Jamie Does...Beef Tagine

On the weekend I attempted Beef Tagine from Jamie Oliver's cookbook Jamie Does...

Below is the recipe copied from the webpage for easy reference:

I like to think of a tagine as a sort of stew with attitude. It’s really all about the spices and the slow cooking, giving all the wonderful flavours time to develop. What’s great is that you don’t need an authentic Moroccan tagine in order to recreate this beautiful food – a saucepan will still give you great results. Having been to Marrakesh and learnt all the principles, I now feel I'll be able to rustle up an endless variety of tagines at home. Give this one a try and you’ll see what I mean.

• 600g stewing beef
• olive oil
• 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,
preferably organic
• 1 small squash
(approximately 800g),
deseeded and cut into
5cm chunks
• 100g prunes, stoned
and roughly torn
• 2 tablespoons flaked
almonds, toasted
For the spice rub
• sea salt and 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 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.

*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.

The smell of the spices during the marinating stage was spectacular. The aroma throughout the house as the beef slow cooked was amazing. Our mouths watered in anticipation...
I departed from the recipe by using coucous pearls a lá risotto style. Together it was sensational.

Afterwards I took the time to read the comments left on Jamie's webpage.

Many folk were unhappy with the flavour.

The flavour of our beef tagine was more subtle than I had anticipated. The aroma during cooking suggested something pretty big was about to hit our taste buds...and it didn't quite live up to that expectation.

I did use the tablespoons of spices as per the recipe (not teaspoons as some people on the webpage suggested) and I only marinated the meat in the spices for about 8 hours.

We all enjoyed it, and my husband said the leftovers the following day were spectacular.

I will definitely cook this again, but will remember to start the marinating overnight next time!

Happy Cooking

1 comment:

  1. Good effort! I like the sound of ras el hanout and wouldn't mind being able to lay my hands on some of that.