Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Beef & Apple Tagine, March 31, 2015

I got a tagine 2 Christmases ago and have only used it once because I keep finding recipes for tagines that require stovetop and oven safe ones. Mine is only okay for the oven. However, we do really like the flavor combinations, so I go ahead and make them in a pot or deep skillet on the stove. The other night, I made a beef and apple tagine, with crispy Persian rice (tahdig), garlic naan, and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with a lemon & olive oil dressing accented with mint and sumac. The rice was delicious, but didn't turn out to be so crispy because I didn't have a non-stick saucepan for it. I suspected just spraying the pan with nonstick cooking spray wouldn't do the trick and I was right. So, most of the crispy part just got stuck to the pan. Oh, well, there was plenty of non-crispy yumminess, anyway. The tagine here is my take on the one in my Moroccan cookbook from World Market and the rice is an amalgam of a number of tahdig recipes. In doing some research into more recipes, after the fact, I discovered a couple of tricks that might help next time (and might help you the first time!) even without a nonstick pan. One is to place a layer of flatbread or sliced potatoes in the bottom of the cooking pan. Another is to add a quarter cup of yogurt to the rice before cooking. If I experiment, I'll be sure to report back!

Beef & Apple Tagine
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. stewing beef, cut into 2" pieces
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
A good grinding of pepper
Pinch saffron
14 oz. beef stock
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. honey
2 smallish apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oil in large pot. Add beef, onion, seasonings and cook until beef is browned. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 1 1/2 hours. Melt butter and honey together in a pan. Add apples and cinnamon, stirring to coat. Cover and cook on low 10-15 minutes. Stir into beef mixture and heat through, making sure apples and meat are tender. Serves 4. 

Crispy Persian Rice (Tahdig)
Large pinch saffron
2 tbsp. hot water
1 c. basmati rice
1 1/2 c. cold water
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. olive oil

Soak saffron in hot water for 10 minutes. Place rice in non-stick pan and fill with cold water. Swish around, then carefully pour out water. Add cold water, saffron, with its soaking water, turmeric, salt, and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Mix together and bring to a boil. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes over low heat (long enough to absorb all the water). Make 5 holes in the rice with the top end of a wooden spoon. Fill each hole with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Turn and tilt the pan so that the oil spreads evenly across the bottom, under the rice. Cover partially and cook on medium heat another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool a minute. Flip onto a serving plate. Serves 4. 


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