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Moroccan Beef Tagine on Minted Lemon Couscous

BT Calgary | posted Friday, Mar 3rd, 2017


Courtesy Anna Olson


The word “tagine” refers both to the earthenware dish with a cone-shaped lid AND the stew that is made within it.  You don’t need this dish to make the stew – a heavy-bottomed pot with a good lid will do the trick, producing an aromatic beef stew with a contrast of sweet and savoury flavours within it.


Serves 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours




  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 Tbsp 15 mL vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 ¼ lbs 600 g Canadian inside round beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm cubes)
  • 2 cups 250 g  peeled & diced onions (2 medium)
  • 1 ½ cups 250 g peeled and diced carrot (2-3 medium)
  • 2 tsp 6 g sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp 6 g ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp 4.5 g ground cumin
  • 1 tsp 3 g ground ginger
  • 1 tsp 3 g ground cinnamon
  • 1 tin 540 mL diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups 375 mL beef stock
  • ½ cup 75 graisins
  • 4-6  pitted Medjool dates, chopp
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup 25 g lightly toasted sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup 60 mL  fresh coriander leaves
  • Minted lemon couscous (recipe follows)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Drop the saffron threads into a glass with a few tablespoons of hot water and set aside.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (with a lid) over high heat and add the oil. Add the beef, enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer without crowding (sear in batches, if it all doesn’t fit) and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon and sauté one minute, to warm up the spices. Add the diced tomato, stock and saffron water and bring to a simmer.  Add back the beef, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the beef yields easily when pierced with a fork.  During the last 15 minutes, ad the raisins and dates.  Season to taste.
  4. Serve the tagine topped with sliced almonds and coriander leaves, over minted lemon couscous and lemon on the side.



Minted Lemon Couscous:

  • 1 ½  cups whole wheat couscous
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ¼  cups boiling water
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, cut in thin strips across the width of the leaves (chiffonade)
  • salt & pepper


  1. Place the couscous in a large, heatproof bowl and grate the lemon zest over it. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, stir and cover the bowl with plastic wrap until it cools to room temperature.
  2. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous, re-warming if needed, to serve (microwave is easiest). Toss the couscous with the green ions and mint and season to taste right before serving.



* The principle behind cooking this stew in the dish with its cone-shaped lid is to keep the moisture and flavours within it.  As the stew simmers, the steam rises up and the cone coaxes the moisture to the top peak, where in condenses and drips back down into the stew, retaining moisture and flavor.

* Inside round is a lean cut, but because it is not as tender as “upper cuts”, it does suit braising.  The key to a tender result is time.  Don’t shortchange yourself on the cooking time.  That said, the smaller you dice the beef, the quicker it will reach that juicy fork-tender stage.

* The raisins and dates are added towards the end of cooking.  If added at the beginning, they would cook away, disappearing into the liquid and their flavor would be lost.

* Of course, you can switch up the dried fruits to other sweet options such as prunes or apricots, or they can be replaced with a diced apple if dried fruits are preferred.

* This dish can also be prepared in a slow cooker.  Simply place all of the  ingredients (except the dried fruits & almonds) in a slow cooker, cover and set on medium to cook 5 hours and then hold warm.

— Enjoy! —