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Fragrant beef with dates and chickpeas

This lighter take on a Moroccan tagine, taken from The Breast Cancer Cookbook, is aromatic and deeply comforting.

Serves 4

Prep Time 15 min

Cooking Time 2 hr 40 min


  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 560g lean beef stewing steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 1 large onion, roughly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1–2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch saffron strands
  • 650ml hot reduced-salt beef stock, plus a little extra if needed
  • 75g medjool dates, pitted and sliced in half
  • 400g tin chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Small handful each fresh coriander and parsley leaves, chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/ gas 1. Heat 1tsp of the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Brown the meat, turning occasionally, for 3–4 min (you may need to do this in batches).
  2. Transfer the beef to a lidded casserole dish or tagine. Add 3tbsp water to the frying pan and swirl it around, scraping up any meaty residue. Add this deglazing liquid to the casserole dish or tagine.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan, then fry the onion for 2–3 min, turning every so often, until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and saffron and fry for 1 min more until fragrant. Scrape the onion and spice mixture into the casserole or tagine, then deglaze the pan again with 3tbsp water and add the liquid to the casserole.
  4. Pour over the stock, ensuring the meat is just covered. Stir in the dates, then cover the casserole with a lid and transfer to the oven. After 1 hr, stir in the chickpeas, then return to the oven for a further 1 hr 30 min or until the meat is tender.
  5. Meanwhile, make cauliflower ‘rice’ by steaming the florets for 2–3 min until just tender. Remove from the heat and leave to steam-dry, then whiz in a food processor to break up into rice-like grains (or coarsely grate).
  6. Garnish the beef with the herbs and serve with the cauliflower rice and lemon wedges on the side.

Nutrition per serving

Read more on how we calculate nutrition.
403 42.5g 10.8g 3.2g 9.3g 22.3g 1.2mg 110mg 37.2g 7.1mg

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