After last Easter’s lamb tajine cook off, it seemed right to give it a try to a different kind of meat, now that Winter is on its way. For the same price, Si and Dave, on their Hairy Bikers version, also got an opportunity redeem themselves from the least favourite tajine of the cook off. It is slow food at it very slowest food. But, the result is a pure comfort food, packed with different flavours and textures, with sweet and spice notes. Perfect for a cold Winter day… A word of warning, though: it is a very heavy and filling dish. Most likely, it is also a caloric bomb…
- 750g of braising steak
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 onions, halved and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 medium sweet potato (around 400g)
- 2 large apples
- 25g bunch fresh coriander
- 75g no-soak dried prunes, halved
- flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the garnish
- 1 large red-skinned apple
- 15g butter
- 1 tbsp clear honey
If not using a tajine, preheat the oven to 180oC.
Trim the beef of any hard fat and cut into roughly 3cm chunks. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in the tagine (or in a large non-stick frying pan, you are not using the tajine). Fry the beef in three batches over a high heat until lightly browned on all sides, adding a little more oil to the pan when needed. Reserve or transfer each batch to a large flameproof casserole once browned.
Reduce the heat and add two tablespoons more oil to the tajine (or the frying pan). Fry the onions for five minutes, or until softened and lightly coloured, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and sprinkle with the cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
Put the brown meat back to the tajine (or tip the onions and spices into the casserole with the beef). Add about 50ml of cold water to the tagine and mix well to lift the sediment from the bottom. In case you are not using the tajine, add 150mL of water to the frying pan and stir until the sediment is gone. Pour the water into the casserole.
Add about 150mL of water, the tomatoes and chickpeas to the casserole and stir in the honey. Crumble the stock cube over the top, add the cinnamon stick and stir well. Bring to a simmer on the hob, stirring a couple of times. Cover with the tajine and let cook for about 1½ hours. In case you are not using a tajine, you will have to use a bit more water (about 350mL), let it boil. Then cover the dish with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
Ten minutes before the time is up, peel the sweet potato and cut into roughly 2.5cm chunks. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 2cm chunks. Trim the coriander and roughly chop half of the leaves.
If you are not using the tajine, carefully take the casserole out of the oven and remove the lid. Stir in the sweet potato, apples, prunes and chopped coriander. Cover once more and return to the oven. If you are using a tajine, just add the remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. In both cases, cook for a further 45-60 minutes, or until the beef is very tender.
To make the garnish, cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Slice each apple quarter lengthways into five. Season with ground black pepper. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the apple slices over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Remove from the heat, drizzle with the honey and toss lightly.
Scatter the fried apples over the tajine in the casserole, scatter with roughly chopped coriander and serve.