Tunisian Seder Msoki (beef stew)

Msoki preparation is a family affair - everyone gathers to prepare the vegetables.

  • place PRE 90 mins
  • place COOK 3 hrs
  • place SERVES 12
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The vegetables need to be cut very small. The main flavours come from the huge amounts of herbs in the dish.I have omitted some of the spices and vegetables normally used (such as peas and ground coriander) to fit the Ashkenazi tradition.
This dish is better made one or two days in advance and keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge so great to prepare ahead for the big night.
Preparation time will be reduced if you are working with others. The cooking time would be an hour less if you are using a pressure cooker. 
Slice the onions, crush the garlic and in a very large cooking pot fry them in the sunflower oil until golden. Add the beef and sear for 8-10 minutes. 
Add the salt, pepper, spices, harissa and (if using) a tablespoon of dried rose petals (or two of rose water) and stir. 
Add enough water to cover the meat completely, bring to the boil then simmer over medium heat for at least 1 ½ - 2 hours until most of the water evaporates and the meat becomes tender. 
While the meat is cooking, wash and dry all the vegetables. Peel where necessary and finely dice the root vegetables, slice the leafy ones and combine them in a large bowl.
Test the meat after 1½ hours and cook for longer if necessary – add water if it is getting dry. The end result should not be watery, but be careful not to leave too little liquid as the meat may burn.
Add the chopped vegetables and herbs and stir well. 
Cook for an additional 30 minutes. The vegetables may still be a little firm, but they will cook further when you reheat the dish.
Serve with matzah crumbled over the top. 

3 large onions

2 large garlic bulbs

500ml sunflower oil

2kg cubed beef

2 tbsp harissa (or less if very spicy)

1 tbsp each of salt, pepper, turmeric and sweet paprika

2 large carrots

1 stick of celery

2 large courgettes

500g Jerusalem artichokes

1 large parsnip

1 turnip

1 swede

1 large leek, finely sliced

2 fennel bulbs

1 iceberg lettuce, finely sliced

500g spinach, finely sliced

100g each of flat parsley, fresh coriander and fresh mint, roughly chopped

Dried rose powder (optional) or rose water Matzah to serve

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