Anna Olson's beef tagine on minted lemon couscous

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You don't have to have a tagine earthenware to enjoy the juicy, tender and flavourful stew it yields. This recipe from chef Anna Olson's new series, Inspired, is sweet and savoury and features Canadian beef, specifically the inside round, which is ideal for slow braising. 

Olson notes that you can use other dried fruits instead of raisins and dates, like apricots and prunes, as long as you add them toward the end of cooking to help them retain their flavour.

You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker.



1 pinch saffron
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 ¼ lbs Canadian inside round beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 cups peeled and diced onions, (2 medium)
1 ½ cups peeled and diced carrot, (2 to 3 medium)
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 540 mL can diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups beef stock
1/2 cup raisins
4 to 6 medjool dates, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
minted lemon couscous
6 wedges lemon, for serving

Drop the saffron threads into a glass with a few tablespoons of hot water and set aside.

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 doesn’t all fit) and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.

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.

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
1 lemon, zest only
2 ¼ cups boiling water
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
salt and pepper, to taste

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.

Use a fork to fluff up the couscous, re-warming if needed, to serve (microwave is easiest).  Toss the couscous with the green onions and mint, and season to taste right before serving.

6 servings
Prep Time:
20 minutes
Cook Time:
2 hours