Pic of North African spiced beef and root vegetable stew

North African spiced beef and root vegetable stew

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Meat mains

North African spiced beef and root vegetable stew

Main Serves 4 2h
Ras el hanout is a complex North African spice mix. If you can't get hold of it, mix a large pinch each of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, chilli or cayenne and black pepper. Cinnamon sticks can vary in strength, so taste at intervals and remove when the flavour reaches your liking. Serve this stew with couscous or bread to soak up the juices.

Cook's notes

Variation Replace the beef with diced lamb shoulder or lamb leg steaks. In this case, add a half teaspoon of turmeric and/or a pinch of saffron along with the ras el hanout and substitute dried apricots for the prunes.


  • 3 tbsp olive, sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 450g beef braising steak, cut into 4 similar-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1 rounded tsp dried ginger)
  • 1 rounded tbsp ras el hanout
  • 800g mixed root veg (e.g. parsnips, carrots, celeriac, swede), peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 200ml red wine (optional; you can use more stock instead)
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 100g pitted prunes
  • handful fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)
  • salt and pepper
Image of North African spiced beef and root vegetable stew


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 1h 40 min
  • Step 1

    Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based pot or casserole and fry the beef over a medium–high heat, turning it over so it browns on both sides. Remove to a plate.
  • Step 2

    Add the remaining oil to the pot, turn the heat right down and add the onion. Fry gently, stirring often, for 10 minutes to soften without colouring. Add the garlic, ginger and ras el hanout and cook, stirring, for a couple more minutes.
  • Step 3

    Return the beef and add the vegetables and wine (if using). Bring to a simmer and bubble for a couple of minutes. Then add the stock and cinnamon stick, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  • Step 4

    Stir in the chickpeas and prunes, re-cover the pot and simmer for a further 15 minutes, until the meat is totally tender. Sprinkle over the herbs and pomegranate seeds if using.

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