Moroccan flavours shine in stew
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.
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
2 handfuls of fresh coriander 2 dried chilli
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.
Masterchef finalist Bec Stanley would love to hear from readers. Please email her on: email@example.com