Beef and Beet Tajine

I got a lot of cookbooks over the holidays. A lot. Also some cool flavored vinegars, and food from the places that my family has traveled recently! The gift that came the farthest, though, was a tajine from Tunisia! Tajine (or tagines) are a traditional North African/Middle Eastern roasting pan with a conical top that keeps in the steam. I love it! This was the second dish that I made in my new pan and it makes my dishes taste more special.

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Merideth also received a new cooking toy for Christmas- a pressure cooker! Since we haven’t done a Distance Dishes dinner using the same recipe for a while, we decided to see the differences that our two new cooking methods would make on the same meal. We had a slight difference in ingredients too, depending on what we had on hand or available in our two hometowns. Delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbs oil and 1 pat butter (or 2 tbs ghee)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 1-2 tsp red chile powder, to taste (or 1 red chile, chopped)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (or 2 cinnamon sticks)
  • 1 lb lean beef, cut into chunks
  • 2 oranges, cut into segments and peeled
  • 2-3 tbs shelled pistachios
  • 1 tbs rosewater or orange flower water
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions (Tajine)

  1. Melt butter and olive oil in the bottom dish. Add garlic, ginger, and chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent.
  2. Add chili, coriander, and cinnamon and stir. Add beets and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add beef and saute until edges are browned, about 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover with tajine lid, lower heat, and simmer for an hour.
  5. After an hour, add orange segments, rosewater, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 15 minutes and top with pistachios.

Instructions (Electric Pressure Cooker)

  1. Melt butter and olive oil in the bottom of the pot using the saute/brown function. Add garlic, ginger and chopped onion and saute until onion and translucent and mixture is fragrant.
  2. Add chili, coriander, and cinnamon and stir. Add beets and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove this mixture temporarily from the pressure cooker and add the beef. Still using the saute/brown function, brown the beef for 3-4 minutes and then re-add the previously removed ingredients.
  4. Add about 3/4 of a cup of water or broth to the pot and add the oranges and rosewater/orange flower water.
  5. Set your pressure cooker to high pressure for 20 minutes and allow the steam to release naturally. Once the cooker is safe to open, serve over couscous, or some yummy Herb Saffron Rice and top with pistachios.

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon and other dark red wines are usually the go-to for beef dishes. In this case, I really liked a Syrah/Shiraz for its smoky and stronger fruit flavors to go with the roasted meat and sweet fruit and beets.

Chocolate Cookie in a Cast Iron Pan

This started out as a red velvet cookie. Not wanting to buy a bunch of red food dye and trying to pass this off as healthy, I used beet juice! You can buy this at the store or, if like me you want to have beets with dinner, simmer peeled and quartered beets for approximately 40 minutes, reserving the dyed water. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite make the red velvet that I was looking for, but I was still left with a tasty, chocolate cookie that I could say had vegetables in it!

I also liked this recipe because it gave me yet another reason to love the cast iron pan that Merideth got me for Christmas! Previously using it for “steak Sundays”, I loved the pan’s versatility and the giant cookie it let me create. Next time, I think I’ll find an excuse to celebrate (Happy Tuesday?) and frost it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup beet juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Blend butter and sugars with mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla until well combined and set aside.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Slowly stir into wet ingredients.
  4. Add chocolate chips and beet juice.
  5. Pour into cast iron skiller (flouring is not necessary) and smooth batter.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick or fork comes out clean when poked in the middle of the cookie.