i recently got my soul back from the devil and it has caused me to return to my (still horrible calamine-lotion-pink) kitchen. we've been buried in a glorious blanket of snow for several weeks already, tho' rain came overnight and most of it has disappeared and turned everything to a muddy muck outdoors. however, the mud hasn't dampened my spirits and i cooked up a warming winter dinner for us this evening. a nordic tagine--of all things--combining sweetness and meat a la morocco, but with the nordic note of elderflower. it was a recipe inspired by earthy danish t.v. cook camilla plum's jul - a christmas cookbook. to accompany it, a hearty, simple brown rice and a wintry salad of red cabbage and pomegranate.
1 beef roast - you can do with a cheaper cut, because you're going to slow cook it 'til it's falling apart
4-5 small red onions, sliced into small boats
1 head of garlic, peeled
1 whole red chili
juice and zest of one lemon
a moroccan-inspired rub for the meat consisting of coriander, cumin, cardamon, salt, pepper (you can buy them ready-made or throw things together in your mortar and pestle yourself)
1 750ml bottle of elderflower cordial.
1 generous splash of balsamic vinegar
4-5 T of olive oil
sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil, then brown the roast (into which you've rubbed the spice mixture). toss in the chili and then pour over the elderflower cordial, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. if it doesn't cover the roast, fill the remainder up with water, so the roast is covered, then put it into an oven-proof pot with a lid (my red le cruset was perfect) and pop it into a 150°C (325°F) oven to slow-simmer for 3 hours.
when there's about an hour to go, cook the brown rice in double the liquid to the amount of rice. i throw in a beef bouillon cube for flavor. it takes 30 or so minutes to cook. when it's nearly done, i throw in a generous hunk of butter.
like most tagines, the meat dish is sweeter than our northern palates are accustomed to, but the aromatic richness is balanced by the heartiness of the rice and it seems just right on these cold, wintery days.
red cabbage & pomegranate salad
1 small red cabbage, shredded
1 tart apple, grated
3 T vanilla olive oil (worth searching for in high end grocery stores)
2 T balsamic vinegar
toss the cabbage and apple into a food processor. cut the pomegranate in half and wack it over the bowl with a wooden spoon to spill all of the ruby gorgeousness of the pomegranate seeds over the cabbage and apple. if you can find the vanilla olive oil, it's definitely worth it. otherwise, throw a vanilla pod into a bottle of good quality olive oil and make your own...it's fantastic with winter salads.
the crunch and sharpness of the cabbage salad is the perfect counterbalance to the fragrant sweetness of the tagine.
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coming soon...st. lucia bread, just in time for the swedish celebration.
and it feels very good to be back.