Chilli Beef Ragu with Chickpeas


1 kg chuck, blade or rump steak, cut into 2 cm dice

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dried chillies

½ tablespoon cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground

1 stick celery, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

4 red peppers

2 green peppers

2 onions, finely diced

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 long red chillies, thinly sliced

1 carrot

2 cups chickpeas, soaked over night

1 litre tomato passata

2 cups beef or chicken stock

½ cup red wine

1 cup basil

1 cup coriander

2 sheets of puff pastry

500g mozzarella cheese


Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Place the diced beef into a large mixing bowl with the spices, salt and pepper and toss well so it is all evenly coated.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown the beef in batches, so that the heat stays high. Transfer the browned beef to a plate.

Halve the peppers lengthwise and rub them all over with a little more olive oil. Grill, skin side up, until black and charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and slice away the seeds and pith. Chop roughly and place in a food processor. Blitz on high to form a rough puree.

Add the rest of the oil to the casserole and lower the heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot celery and chillies and sauté gently for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Return the beef to the casserole and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato passata, pureed peppers, stock, herbs, chickpeas and wine and bring to the boil. Transfer the casserole to the oven, and cook, covered, for 2 hours. The ragù can be prepared to this stage ahead of time.

When ready to eat, cover the ragù with the cheese and layer on the two pieces of puff pastry and brush on some melted butter. Put it back in the oven until the pastry is golden brown

Serves 4 hungry men