Spicy Beef Stew with Moroccan Spice Rub

The flavor for this recipe comes mainly from the spice rub I put on the meat at the start. The spices and their aromas just get locked into the beef and release during the stewing so each bite is really well flavored. I used a spice mix commonly used in Middle Eastern and Moroccan cooking called ras el hanout. The sauce is tart from the tomatoes and sweet from the pumpkin, carrots, and parsnips and has a heady aroma from the spices. Ladle into your favorite soup bowl and slurp away. This is hearty enough on its own so I usually don't serve any bread with it.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
4 servings


  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout, or more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 small onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tomato, diced

  • 1 cup diced pumpkin

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, or more to taste

  • 1 cup rose wine

  • 2 cups beef stock

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 1 sprig fresh mint

  • 1 bay leaf

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 parsnip, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced

  • 1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste (Optional)


  1. Place beef in a large bowl. Add ras el hanout and rub until beef is completely coated. Let sit for 15 minutes.

  2. Heat oil in a stew pot over high heat until shimmering. Add meat, making sure it's not overcrowded, and sear to seal in the juices, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate.

  3. Reduce heat to medium and add leek and onion to the pot. Saute until leeks turn golden and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and saute until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooked meat back to the pot, along with diced pumpkin and tomato paste. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

  4. Pour wine into the pot and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until wine reduces by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef stock, rosemary, mint, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

  5. Add parsnip and carrot, cover, and simmer until beef is tender, about 40 minutes longer. Taste sauce and add lemon juice and sugar, if needed.

Cook's Notes:

Goat meat or lamb can be used instead of beef. You can use any type of onions or shallots, and try a red wine like Merlot in place of the rose.

If you don't have ras el hanout, substitute with an equal mix of powdered spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, anise, ground chile peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorns, and turmeric. You could also add saffron and ground ginger.

Shortcut: if you are in a hurry or simply can't bother with the slow-cooking, use a pressure cooker. After deglazing with the wine, transfer to a pressure cooker and add stock, herbs, etc., as specified above. Put the lid on and once pressure builds, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes; the time will vary on the type and cut of meat you are using. Once off the heat, wait for the cooker to release pressure before attempting to open it.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

430 Calories
23g Fat
24g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 430
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 218mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 30mg 150%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 915mg 19%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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