Beef tagine with sweet potatoes, peas, ginger, and ras-el-hanout

It’s been a while since we’ve pulled our trusty tagine from the further recesses of its cabinets. Which is kind of unconscionable, as we love Moroccan food and dinner a la tagine is always unfailingly tasty.

Tagine cookery is extremely forgiving and, save for a little prep work, pretty hands-off once everything’s going. The one thing I always under-estimate when tagine-ing is how efficient they are at re-circulating moisture. As our tagine’s base is a bit on the shallow side, this results in a lot of spill-over during the cooking process. This will always happen immediately after I’ve cleaned the stove-top, and it will piss me off every time. Hence, Liz’s Top Tagine Tip: when adding liquids or juicy ingredients to your tagine, less is more. Trust me on this one.

Also, if you don’t have a tagine, don’t worry. A deep heavy-based casserole with a tight-fitting lid is a perfect substitute. Tagines are pretty, though.


Steve and I bought a jar of preserved lemons a while ago with the stated intention of adding them to our next tagine. The recipe calls for one, as garnish. I forgot about the damn lemons, but it was plenty tasty without them.

This recipe makes 4 generous servings. It’s from a book called Tagine, by Ghillie Basan.

2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil (we used olive oil)
40 g fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded (since we managed to lose our ginger somewhere between the shop and the kitchen, I ended up using about a heaped teaspoon of powdered ginger; it was fine)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 kg lean beef, cubed
1-2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Sea salt and ground pepper
500g fresh or frozen peas
2 tomatoes skinned, de-seeded and chopped
1 (entirely optional) preserved lemon, finely shredded or chopped
Small bunch of (entirely optional) coriander leaves, chopped

Cous cous or salad to serve

Heat the ghee or olive oil in your tagine.
Stir in the ginger and onion and sauté until soft
Add the beef and sear on all sides, then stir in the ras
Add just enough water to cover the meat (or even less – see the top tip) and bring to a boil
Reduce the heat, cover, and cook gently for about 40 minutes
Add the sweet potato, then season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook for another 20 minutes (the potatoes took about 40 minutes to soften up this time around, but it just makes the beef more tender, so don’t worry if it takes longer)
Check that the sweet potato is getting soft, the add the peas and tomatoes, cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes
Sprinkle with lemon and coriander
Serve over cous cous or with a leafy green salad




Optional kitchen porn:
Le Creuset tagine

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 10:47 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I had a similar recipe to this before, it is lovely with a sprinkling of dried chilli at the potato stage. Have it served up with a dollop of natural yoghurt in it and a nice crusty loaf with plenty of butter as opposed to cous-cous. Delish.

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