When I cook, I feel whole, satisfied and calm. There’s many who despise the preparation, cutting corners with pre-made sauces or entire meals – and yes sometimes I am all for cutting corners – but most of the time, I enjoy the process. I enjoy knowing that I have taken the time and care to create something – something that leaves people feeling full, content and happy, and perhaps most of all – something that brings people together. To me – this is one of the greatest joys there is.
What I am saying is that food is about so much more than the end result, and more often than not, you don’t have to spend hours and hours and use long lists of ingredients to make something wonderful – you just have to have a little patience and show a little love. That’s one of the reasons I love this tagine so much – I have made it a few times now and it never disappoints. It requires few ingredients and not a lot of effort – but somehow everything manages to come effortlessly together.
As the dish develops, I love watching as the dried and wrinkly sultanas draw in the moisture and flavour of the liquid, recapturing their youthful appearance, turning into plump little gems of sweetness. I’ve said it before, I love introducing the sweetness of fruit into savory meat dishes – and the sultanas pack a little fist pump of excitement when combined with the beef, not to forget the caramelised apples that adorn the finished dish – adding a glamorous touch of extra flavour and intrigue.
Best served alongside a light and fluffy couscous, this beef tagine is a wonderful little dish – perfect to make ahead of time for a family dinner or a lazy mid week meal.
1kg beef chuck steak/gravy beef
2 Tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, sliced
1/8 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 coriander sprigs, tied in a bunch
125g sultanas (or raisins)
3 Tbs honey
3 tart green apples (such as Granny Smiths)
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
- Trim the beef and cut into 2cm cubes. Heat a heavy based pot over high heat, add half of the oil and half of the butter and brown the meat in batches, remove to a dish once browned.
- Add remaining oil as needed, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the pot. Cook gently for five minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Sprinkle in the saffron, cinnamon and ginger and cook stirring for one minute. Add 375ml water, salt and pepper, then stir well, returning beef to the pot. Top with the coriander sprigs, lower the heat and cover, cooking for one and a half hours.
- Remove the coriander, then add the sultanas and one tablespoon of the honey, stir through and cover again to cook for another half an hour (or until the meat is tender).
- Cut apples into wedges and cook in another pan with the remaining butter and honey for ten minutes until soft and glazed. Remove from pan and sprinkle over sesame seeds.
- Serve tagine hot, placing the apples on top.
Serve alongside couscous. Enjoy!
*Recipe from Flavours of Morocco