One of the items in my Riverford meat box was beef stewing steak – which is also currently available in their Winter Warmer meat box, full of cuts that lend themselves to slow-cooked stews. With a knowing nod to the North African influence of my recent Lanzarote jaunt, I decided to make Moroccan beef tagine.
But I’d never cooked anything remotely Moroccan in my life. I looked to my friend Laura (Sifting Sowing) for inspiration – she made this great spicy beef stew – and to Moroccan dining heavyweight Moro, but I realised I had a problem. The problem with meat boxes for single people is that they offer great variety of cuts, but not in huge individual quantities. However the good thing about this problem is it makes you think ‘how do I make a little meat go a long way?’. The answer for me is vegetables. So I ended up adapting this vegetable-rich Jamie Oliver recipe to make up a substantial dish with just 450g of stewing steak.
Once again, I visited my local Whitechapel Market and Banglacity supermarket to get the spices I needed. Along the way I picked up a £1 hefty slice of pumpkin (it being Hallowe’en and all!) and a bunch of coriander from the market. I find it hilarious that they only sell coriander in such huge quantities – but it was only 40p. The one thing I couldn’t find was the ras el hanout spice mix; I substituted it with a Schwartz Moroccan spice rub from Sainsbury’s.
I followed Jamie’s recipe faithfully so I won’t reprint it here – except that pumpkin worked as a great substitution for the squash, and I also found I needed much less stock. And although Jamie’s recipe calls for a three hour slow cook, I found two or so hours simmering on the hob was ample, due to my dish having less beef.
I served myself a bowlful of tagine, topped with toasted almond flakes and fresh coriander. It was very aromatic, the beef melting in my mouth and having slightly disintegrated so that it was a thick and mulchy stew – just how I like it!
Oh and this is a great soundtrack should you choose to cook this dish: legendary Algerian singer and raï superstar Cheb Mami’s Meli Meli.
This dish served 4-6. 450g of organic stewing steak from Riverford costs £3.95.