Prep and cook 30 mins, serves 2
In this recipe, the spice blend is aromatic rather than hot, but there is a little kick from the cayenne. Use a cautious pinch to begin with, as it’s quite fiery and can vary in strength. Taste and add more at the end of cooking, if you like.
125g French beans
250g beef stir fry strips
½ tbsp smoked paprika
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp ground coriander
¼ tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tbsp cayenne
½ bunch of spring onions
1 piece preserved lemon
Put a kettle on to boil. Trim the French beans and chop each one into 2 or 3 pieces. Put the beans in a saucepan and cover with boiled water from the kettle. Bring to the boil on the hob. Cook for approx 3 mins, until just tender. Drain and run under cold water to cool, then keep to one side.
Put the quinoa in another saucepan with a pinch of salt. Cover with 350ml boiled water. Bring to a simmer on the hob and cook for 12-14 mins, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa tender. Keep an eye on the liquid, add a splash more water if it looks like boiling dry. Once cooked, cover and keep to one side.
Once the quinoa goes on the hob, reboil the kettle. Peel the carrots. Cut into angled pieces, approx 1cm. Put them in the pan used for the beans. Pour over water from the kettle to almost cover them. Add a pinch of salt and the juice from half the lemon. Bring to a medium boil. Cook for 10 mins, or until the carrots are just tender.
While the quinoa and carrots cook, put the beef on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dust with the merguez spice mix and a pinch of cayenne (see cook’s note). Turn the beef in the spices to coat. Trim and finely slice the onions. Scoop out and discard the flesh from the preserved lemon, then finely chop the skin. Roughly chop the watercress.
When the carrots are just tender, turn up the heat and reduce any excess liquid. You want the carrots to be just coated in juices, not completely dry. Remove from the heat and stir in the preserved lemon rind. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Fry the beef on a high heat for 2-3 mins until nicely coloured. If you like, add a little more cayenne, to taste.
Finely chop the dill leaves. Stir the French beans, watercress, onions and dill into the quinoa. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste. Serve the beef alongside the carrots and quinoa.