Slow-Cooked Beef Tagine

There is something special about slow-cooked food. You need a bit of patience - like with this slow-cooked beef tagine - but the end result is really worth the wait.

It doesn’t take that long to prepare though, before it goes into the oven. You need to cook the tagine for about 2 hours but once it is in the oven, it pretty much takes care of itself.

To make this an as low-calorie meal as possible, serve it with nothing but vegetables - such as oven roasted carrots, squash, beetroots (beets) and tomatoes and steamed or boiled green beans and/or broccoli.

Without trying to give too much of a lecture, can I just say that a good way to start any meal is with a salad made with raw vegetables. Raw foods are not only really nutritious - they also contain enzymes which become active when we chew them.

And enzymes are really important as our bodies do not automatically benefit from whatever nutrients there is in the food we eat. The food first has to be digested and broken down into smaller particles before it can nourish us. This is done by enzymes.

Ok, back to the recipe. The inspiration for this slow-cooked beef tagine comes from a “Moro cook book” by Sam & Sam Clark. I have changed it a bit and added more things.

You add prunes to this casserole and I got hold of some really tasty Agen prunes soaked in a bit of brandy that I used for this casserole. I’m not sure how much of a difference the brandy did to the taste of the tagine though!

 
For 4 people:

A good pinch of saffron strands soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-sized red onions, peeled and finely grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1½ teaspoon ground ginger

1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 kilo, 2¼lb, stewing steak (stew meat), diced

150g, 5½oz, ready to eat prunes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

Salt

Water

150g, 5½oz, 1 cup, frozen peas

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Place the butter and oil in a casserole dish over a medium high heat. Add the grated onion, garlic, ground ginger, cinnamon and pepper to the casserole dish and fry for a minute.

2.    Increase the heat and add the diced meat to the casserole dish. Stir and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the soaked saffron, prunes and sweet potato, season with some salt and add enough water to cover the meat. Stir and bring to the boil. Cover the casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the pre-heated oven.

3.    Cook the beef tagine for about 2 hours (it might take a bit longer), until the meat is really tender and falls apart. Once it is ready, take it out of the oven, check the seasoning and add the frozen peas. Place it back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

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