Venison and Pumpkin Tagine

Venison and Pumpkin Tagine

Juicy strips of marinated steak combine with classic Mexican flavours and textures to make this wonderful salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout*
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • Salt & pepper
  • 500 g diced venison shoulder, chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
  • olive oil 
  • 1 400 g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups good quality beef stock
  • 800 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 cup pitted prunes

Mix all the spices along with good pinch of salt and pepper together. Place the venison into a large bowl, massage it with the spice mix, then cover with and place in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. Heat a generous lug of oil in a tagine or casserole pan over a medium heat, sear the meat, in batches if needed. Add the onion and chopped coriander stalks and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and tomatoes along with half of the stock and stir well. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a low heat for 1½ hours. Add the pumpkin, prunes and remaining stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on and continue cooking for another 1½ hours.

Remove the lid and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off – the venison should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season to taste.

Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine and serve with lightly seasoned couscous.

*Ras el hanout (Arabic for "top of the shop") is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.