Fancy a warming casserole with a difference? Try this one – prunes give it an identifiably autumnal feel and a bit of sweetness. Serve with buttery potatoes to really amp up the comfort levels.
- 6 tbsp tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kg chuck steak, cut into chunks
- 2 white onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tsp ras el hanout
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 400ml Rioja red wine
- 650g chopped tomatoes
- 500ml water
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g no-soak pitted prunes
- ½ bunch mint, finely chopped
- ½ bunch coriander, finely chopped
- Boiled or buttery mash potatoes, to serve
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil in a large high-sided, heavy-based frying pan.
- Brown the beef in batches over a high heat and transfer to a casserole.
- Add another 1½ tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook the onion for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes. Sprinkle over the spices and cook, stirring constantly, for another 3 minutes.
- Finally, add the chilli and cook for 2 minutes, then tip the contents of the pan into the casserole with the beef.
- Pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze it, stirring the wine with a wooden spoon to make sure you get all the caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan, which are full of flavour. Reduce for 5 minutes then pour over the meat.
- Add the tomatoes and water to the casserole. Season with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper, and stir the casserole once.
- Cover the casserole tightly with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Check from time to time that the dish is not drying out and if it looks like it is add a bit more water.
- Remove from the oven and stir in the prunes and fresh herbs. Replace the lid and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Rustic: Simple Food and Drink, from Morning to Night is published by Hardie Grant, priced at £20. Photography by Helen Cathcart. For more info: fernandezandwells.com.