Moroccan-style beef and potato stew

This stew, loosely based on Berber tagine, is perfect when you have guests over for lunch on Sunday, especially in the winter. You can prepare it the night before, leave it overnight to marinade, and pop it into the oven on Sunday morning. The result is a hearty stew that reminds of South African potjiekos, but has a distinct Moroccan flavour.


  • 1 kg stewing steak, roughly cut into generous bite-sized portions
  • 2 onions, very roughly chopped
  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons (2 cloves) of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) coriander
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of cinnamon
  • Small pinch of saffron threads (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)
  • Small pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chicken or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour



  1. Mix dry spices, salt and pepper and sprinkle over beef portions.
  2. If you're able to get hold of saffron, at it to 1/2 cup of boiling water and let it cool down.
  3. Cover the bottom of a large, oven-proof casserole dish with chopped onion.
  4. Add beef, potato and carrots in alternating layers.
  5. Chop tinned tomatoes roughly and pour over meat, followed by the steeped saffron and stock.
  6. Seal the dish well with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight to marinade. You don't have to marinade it, but it is often convenient to be able to do so, and improves the flavour of the dish.

When you are ready to cook it:

  1. Add water, in necessary, until the liquid in the dish almost covers the topmost layer of beef.
  2. Cover the casserole dish with its lid and pop into a cold oven, set it to bake for 3 hours at 180°C, or 4 hours at 160°C.
  3. Remove 30 minutes before serving. Very carefully move meat away from one corner of the dish and spoon out 3/4 of the liquid into a small sauce pan.
  4. Add apricots to dish and return to oven. Reduce temperature to 100°C.
  5. To make the gravy: mix cornflower with a little water to form a thin paste. Add to the liquid in your sauce pan and heat over medium heat while stirring.