Beef tagine

all details

Prime beef fillet with intense spices is luxury on a plate.

Neil Perry's beef tagine.
Neil Perry's beef tagine. Photo: William Meppem

Ingredients

  • 800g prime beef fillet, cut into 2cm dice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4cm pieces
  • 8 green beans
  • 12 almonds, skin removed
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 fresh dates, pitted
  • 1 small handful pitted black olives
  • ¼ preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • steamed couscous, to serve
  • Chermoula
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1½ tsp ras el hanout (a North African spice mix, available at speciality food stores and spice suppliers)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

Method

For the chermoula

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except the olive oil and lemon juice.

Process for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the oil to form a thick paste. Stir through the lemon juice.

Set aside 1 cup for the tagine.

Makes 2 cups; store extra chermoula under oil for 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

For the tagine

Combine 2 tbsp chermoula with the beef and set aside to marinate for 1 hour.

In a tagine or a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat a little extra virgin olive oil and the rest of the reserved chermoula.

Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, beans, almonds and a little salt and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add enough water to half-cover the vegetables, then add the honey and lemon juice and cover.

Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and turn the ingredients carefully.

Add the dates and olives.

Cover the pan again and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Heat a frying pan until hot and add some olive oil.

When smoking, add the beef and quickly sauté to colour and seal on all sides.

You can also use a braising cut rather than prime beef fillet; just add more water and extend the cooking time to about 2 hours.

Spoon the beef into the tagine and mix well.

You can serve the dish in the tagine or saucepan, spooned onto a large platter or divided among plates.

Just before serving, sprinkle with preserved lemon rind and fresh herbs.

Serve with couscous.

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