Beef tagine

“Spicy, fragrant and sweet, the perfect beef tagine doesn't need special equipment, just time. ”


  • 600 g stewing beef
  • 1 onion
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 x 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 800 ml organic vegetable stock
  • 800 g butternut squash
  • 100 g prunes
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 1 level tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 level tablespoon sweet paprika


  1. Mix all the spice rub ingredients together   in  a small bowl with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  2. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, peel and finely chop the onion, and pick the coriander leaves, finely chopping the stalks.
  4. Heat a generous lug of oil in a tagine or casserole pan over a medium heat, add the meat and fry for 5 minutes to seal. Add the onion and coriander stalks and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Drain and tip in the chickpeas, followed by the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir well. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a low heat for 1½ hours.
  6. Meanwhile, deseed and chop the squash into 5cm chunks, then destone and roughly tear the prunes.Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until lightly golden, then tip into a bowl.
  7. When the time's up, add the squash, prunes and remaining stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it, adding splashes of water, if needed.
  8. At this stage, remove the lid and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, more with the lid off – the beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season to taste.
  9. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds. Serve with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.


Ras el hanout (Ar

abic for "top of the shop") is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.