Ras el Hanout recipe

Tagine of beef with

prunes and chickpeas

This is a hearty dish that brings together the fragrance and flavour of ras el hanout and sweetness of the prunes. Cook this recipe in a tagine if you have one, but the results are just as tasty using a pot or casserole with a tight fitting lid that is suitable for using on the hob.  The braising steak needs long, slow cooking so the whole thing, with preparation, should be ready in around 3½ hours.  Coat the beef in the ras el hanout spice blend at least one hour before you start cooking, or for best results leave it overnight - Serves 4-6.


Ingredients

  • 1kg braising steak, cubed
  • 2 tbsp Pinch Organic Ras el Hanout
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 120g shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 150g ready to eat prunes, chopped in half
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander leaves chopped and some toasted, flaked almonds to serve (optional)


Method

Place the cubed braising steak in a large bowl.  Sprinkle over the Organic Ras el Hanout spice blend and a pinch each of salt and pepper and mix well so that all of the meat is covered.  Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to allow the spices to penetrate the meat for at least an hour before you start cooking.

Heat the oil in the casserole dish over a medium heat.  Add the meat and cook gently, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  The aim is to brown the meat slightly but mainly to cook the spices.  Using a slotted spoon transfer the browned meat to a plate.  Add the shallots to the pot and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until they are soft.  Add the ginger and cook for a further minute, then the garlic, and continue cooking for one more minute. 

Return the beef to the pot with the shallots, ginger and garlic and add the tomatoes, chickpeas and beef stock.  Stir the whole thing to combine well.  Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours.

After the 1½ hours is up add the prunes.  Stir well, replace the lid and continue cooking at a simmer for a further 1½ hours.  During this second phase the prunes will cook down and thicken the sauce as well as giving it a wonderful sweetness.  Check from time to time that the sauce does not reduce too far.  If it does, add sufficient water to make sure the beef is just covered.

When the cooking time is up scatter over the coriander and toasted almonds before serving with couscous.

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