Beef Tagine with Couscous

Beef Tagine with Couscous

This week we have a slightly different but incredibly delicious way to cook your cheaper cuts of meat, sure to beat all other beef stews. Tagine is a North African dish where meat is cooked slowly in various spices until it is fragrant and tender, usually in the clay pot that goes by the same name. However, it can also be made in any vessel that locks in steam (thereby retaining the moisture in the meat). A slow cooker, which seems to have become a regular feature of scarfie flats, is perfect. Traditionally tagine would be made with a spice mix called ras-al hanout, which means “top of the shop” and is a mixture of the spice merchant’s best spices. Because this always varies a little, use the spices listed below as a guide, but feel free to experiment with a little “ras-al flat”. Then sit back and relax while the cooker does all the work and the house is filled with mouth-watering aromas.

Maeve Jones


For the tagine:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 600g chuck steak, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 cup of liquid beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons each of cumin, coriander powder, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • A wedge of pumpkin
  • ˝ cup of raisins
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh herbs such as mint or coriander and sliced almonds to garnish (optional, though highly recommended as they make all the difference).

For the couscous:

  • 500g packet couscous
  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • Either the zest of 1 lemon or 1 chicken stock cube


  1. Preheat a slow cooker to high. Add half of the oil to a pan over a medium heat. Fry the onions and garlic until they become translucent, then add them to the cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Brown the beef in sections and add it to the cooker as it’s ready.
  3. Mix the beef stock with the honey and the spices. Pour into the cooker with the can of tomatoes.
  4. Finely chop the pumpkin and the carrots and add to the cooker with the raisins.
  5. Season and stir the mixture before placing the lid on and leaving on high for 8 hours.
  6. Prepare the couscous about 15 minutes before you wish to serve the dish. Pour the boiling water into a bowl with your lemon zest or stock cube. If using stock, make sure it is well dissolved in the water. Stir in the couscous, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork a little before serving with a ladle full of the tagine and garnish with mint or coriander, and almonds.
This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2012.
Posted 5:04pm Sunday 22nd April 2012 by Maeve Jones.