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Slow-cooked with squash, sticky prunes and chickpeas
“Spicy, fragrant and sweet, the perfect beef tagine doesn't need any special equipment, just time ”
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight. That way the spices really penetrate and flavor the meat.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole– type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and cilantro stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in half of the stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.
At this point add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.
Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the cilantro leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.