We love the flavours of North Africa: with ingredients such as spicy coriander and cumin, fragrant cinnamon and orange flower water, hot chilli and ginger, sour pickled lemon, salty olives and sometimes even the sweetness of fruit, although readers of other pages on this site will know that I am not keen on very sweet fruit with meat. I was delighted, therefore, to be given a Tagine for my birthday: not absolutely necessary to cook the dishes but lovely to look at and use for serving and especially for entertaining. Along with the Tagine, I was also given a recipe book containing a good selection of ideas for using my new pot. This was the first recipe that caught my eye: we love beetroot cooked with meat and in combination with orange the dish sounded unusual and delicious.
This recipe was taken from Tagine: Spicy Stews from Morocco by Ghillie Başan. I have altered the quantities and proportions a little and have adapted the recipe for cooking in the oven. (My Tagine cannot be used on the stovetop as I have an electric cooker with a ceramic hob.) I served the Tagine with wedges of butternut squash oven baked with olive oil and a sprinkling of Ras el-Hanout, a spice mixture which is exclusive to North Africa (I mix my own) along with Couscous flavoured with pickled lemon and fresh coriander. I often add chickpeas to the couscous mixture but these would also be good added to the Tagine at the same time as the orange segments.
Moroccan Style Beef Stew with Beetroot & Orange
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (original uses ghee)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large red onions, halved lengthwide and sliced
1inch/2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (amount can be increased)
½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
3-4 beetroots, peeled & quartered (uncooked)
1lb/500g lean beef, cut into bite sized pieces
2 or 3 thin skinned oranges, segmented
1tbsp dark, runny honey
1-2 tsp orange flower water
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 knob of butter
2-3 tbsp shelled pistachio nuts
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped (original uses flat leaved parsley)
This recipe can be either cooked on the hob, as in the original instruction, or at Step 6 transferred to the oven and baked.
If using the oven it should be pre-heated to 160oC Fan/170oC/325oF/Gas 3
1. Melt the oil in a pan (alternatively a Tagine or lidded casserole dish suitable for stove top use) and stir in the garlic, onion and ginger until they start to colour.
2. Add the chilli, crushed coriander seeds and cinnamon stick.
3. Add the beetroot pieces and cook gently for 2-3minutes.
4. Add the beef and gently cook for 1 minute.
5. Pour over enough water to almost cover the beetroot and beef. Bring to the boil.
6. Transfer to a Tagine or ovenproof dish with a well fitting lid and place in the oven. Alternatively leave in the pan, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 1 hour, until the meat is very tender.
7. Add the orange pieces, honey and orange flower water and season. Cook, covered, for a further 10-15 minutes.
8. Melt the butter in a small pan and lightly brown the pistachio nuts over a medium heat.
9. Sprinkle them, with the coriander or flat leaved parsley, over the meat mixture and serve.