Tender chunks of beef simmered in a fragrant & fruity broth enriched with honey - a traditional Moroccan tagine at it's best! I cook mine in a traditional tagine & an electric tagine; but I realise that not everyone has one, so I have also tested this out in my crock pot; it works REALLY well and is better when cooking larger quantities. The meat becomes meltingly tender and the fruity & spicy smell transports you immediately to Morocco........on a magic carpet maybe?? Yes, I am waxing lyrical I know - but this tagine is a real winner. It's not particularly seasonal, but I do think that the colder autumn & winter months are a good time to indulge in this North African comfort dish!
- 3 lbs organic beef, trimmed of fat & cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb onion, peeled & quartered
- 4 -6 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped finely
- 1 lb carrot, peeled & cut into chunks
- 9 ounces canned tomatoes
- 4 ounces dates, pitted but kept whole
- 6 ounces prunes, pitted but kept whole
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1⁄2 pint beef stock
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix (or 2 teaspoons cumin powder, 2 teaspoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon turmeric)
- salt & pepper
- 2 ounces toasted sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- Par-boil the carrots in boiling water for about 3 -5 minutes.
- Preheat the electric Tagine or crock pot to High.
- Heat up half of the olive oil in a large frying pan and quickly brown the onion quarters over a fairly high heat until charred & coloured well. Tip them into the crock pot.
- Add the chopped garlic & par-boiled carrots to the onions in the crock pot.
- Make up 1/2 pint of stock with a beef stock cube. Add the honey to the the stock & ALL the dried spices. Tip the honey & spiced stock into the crock pot & mix well. Add the cinnamon stick.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, dates & prunes to the crock pot - mix well.
- Heat up the remaining olive oil and brown the beef cubes in small batches to sear & seal them. As you finish browning them, add the beef to the crock pot.
- When you have finished browning all the beef, give the whole mixture a good stir & season with salt & pepper.
- Cook on high for between 6 & 10 hours depending on your crock pot's wattage & settings.
- Serve the beef tagine with fluffy couscous and garnish with the chopped fresh coriander & toasted flaked almonds. It also works well with rice too.
- P.S. Watch out for the cinnamon stick! We sometimes award the lucky winner of the cinnamon stick with an extra glass of wine!
- P.P.S. You can use dates & prunes which have not been pitted, they do tend to hold their shape better too, just warn your guests that they must look out for the stones!