Moroc­can flavours shine in stew

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Ear­lier this month I was lucky enough to be given a large piece of veni­son, hunted and gath­ered by the amus­ing and gre­gar­i­ous Hamish Clark from TV3 News. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a tal­ented reporter, to our de­light, we dis­cov­ered Hamish is also a keen and fear­less hunter. His gor­geous wife Lisa, an old school­mate of mine, and a very tal­ented cook, kindly packed it up and bought it down on a re­cent ski hol­i­day.

I do this dish in the slow cooker, lit­er­ally fry off all the spices and meat and throw it all in to­gether. If you do not have a slow cooker, al­ter­na­tively you can cook in a pot on stove or in a casse­role dish in the oven on low heat. For the more tra­di­tional cook­ing use a con­i­cal tagine. The flavours I am us­ing are ba­sic Moroc­can spices but with­out the sweet dried fruits and nuts. If you do wish to make this a more au­then­tic Tagine, you can add dried apri­cots, prunes and al­monds. I was never a fan of sa­vory dishes that con­tained sweet fruit un­til I trav­elled to Morocco where I found a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the way they can cre­ate an in­cred­i­ble fu­sion of the two. En­joy.

In­gre­di­ents

1 kg veni­son diced – a cheap cut is fine as the cook­ing process will ten­derise it (try lamb or beef if can’t get hands on veni­son) 2 tb cumin seeds 2 tb co­rian­der seeds 2 tsp fen­nel seeds 2 tsp cardamom seeds

tsp cloves 1 tsp pa­prika 1 tsp ground ginger 1 cin­na­mon quill

tsp cayenne pep­per 390g tin of chick­peas 400g tin of chopped toma­toes 400ml good qual­ity chicken stock 1 large onion diced 3 cloves gar­lic chopped 1 tbs grated ginger 2 blocks of frozen spinach (or a cou­ple of hand­fuls of fresh spinach) 4 tbs veg­etable oil Salt and pep­per to sea­son

Gar­nish

2 hand­fuls of fresh co­rian­der 2 dried chilli

Method 1.

In a fry pan on a medium heat, toast the cumin, co­rian­der, fen­nel, cloves and cardamom un­til they be­come aro­matic (you start to see small amount of smoke com­ing off it).

Take off the heat and let cool a lit­tle be­fore grind­ing in a pes­tle and mor­tar.

Pour 1 tb of the vege oil in a pan on a medium to high heat and fry off the onions, gar­lic and ginger un­til soft­ened (not browned). Tip into the slow cooker (or your cho­sen ves­sel for cook­ing).

Next, put 2 tb of the vege oil in the same frypan on a medium to high heat and fry up the spices from the pes­tle and mor­tar plus the ground ginger, pa­prika, cin­na­mon and cayenne. Cook for 2-3 mins un­til fra­grant. Pour into your cooker.

Fi­nally put 1 tb in the same fry pan on a high heat and quickly brown off all the meat. Do this in batches so the meat doesn’t stew in­stead of sear­ing. Put into slow cooker.

Fi­nally pour in the stock , toma­toes, drained chick­peas, spinach and stir to com­bine all in­gre­di­ents.

If us­ing a slow cooker, cook on the high set­ting for around 4 hours or the low set­ting for around 6hrs. If do­ing it on the stove top, bring to the boil then re­duce to sim­mer for about 2 hours. If do­ing it in the oven, I cook at 150 for 2 to 2.5 hours.

In all cases stir oc­ca­sion­ally. Sea­son at the end with salt and pep­per and gar­nish with chopped co­rian­der and thinly sliced dried chilli. You can serve this meal with a de­li­cious le­mony cous­cous. If you are not a fan of this try brown rice, rice, quinoa, pita bread or even serve it on a gar­l­icy mashed spud.

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Serves 6

Masterchef fi­nal­ist Bec Stan­ley would love to hear from read­ers. Please email her on: bec­stamers@gmail.com

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