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Beef and Onion Tagine with Prunes and Apricots

6 to 8 Servings

3 hours 30 minutes active

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Tagine de boeuf aux pruneaux is a classic Moroccan braise, one that exemplifies the North African way of combining savory and sweet ingredients along with warm, aromatic spices. In Fes, we tasted many renditions of this stew of beef, onions and dried fruits—in casual eateries, upscale restaurants and even home kitchens. When re-creating the dish, we aimed to combine the best attributes of our favorite versions: a generous amount of silky caramelized onions, chunks of fork-tender beef, a harmonious mix of aromatic spices and enough savory garlic to balance the sweetness of the fruits. The customary method for making tagine de boeuf aux pruneaux is to layer the ingredients in the pot. We took a cue from home cook Rkia Ouali who reserved half of the copious amount of onions for scattering on top of the stew before allowing it to simmer slowly. This technique creates a little variation in the onions’ texture and flavor, with the slices at the bottom becoming meltingly soft and the ones at the surface taking on some light caramelization. We serve our tagine garnished with almonds and parsley, along with dried apricots and additional prunes simmered until plump in some of the braising liquid, then finished with sesame seeds. This elegant compote-like flourish was unique to home cook Hayat Hamass’ recipe and one we adopted to bring some contrasting flavor and color to the stew. The Moroccan flatbread called khobz is the traditional accompaniment for this tagine; alternatively, serve warmed pita or crusty bread alongside.

6 to 8



Don’t put the stew into the oven until the liquid has reached a simmer on the stovetop. If it’s shy of simmering when the pot goes into the oven, it will take longer to come to temperature and the cooking time will need to be extended. Also, after removing ½ cup of the braising liquid, be sure to return the pot to the oven uncovered. This will allow the liquid to reduce slightly, yielding deeper, more concentrated flavor. It also will allow the upper layer of onions to take on some color.

3 hours

30 minutes active


  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • pounds red onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick


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Bill O.
August 7, 2023
Great recipe
Fork tender, wonderful flavors. Time will vary with how large you cube the beef. Next time I'll make more of the fruit. Served it on a plate with cauli mashed potatoes.
Gail D.
April 5, 2023
This tastes like you've been working on it for hours.
What a great's so simple and comes together in no time. Yet, it's elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. No one needs to know that you didn't even break a sweat!
Diana L.
February 10, 2023
This was delicious.
I could not find boneless short ribs, so I ended up buying with a bone in then cutting the bone out. I wish I bought more meat. I ended up with only 1.5 pounds. I cut my meet into bite size pieces. My family really liked this dish. It reminded me of the dish from Baku, Azerbaijan. It is served on top of the rice. So I have made Basmati rice for it. My family loved the sauce. I thought it was too sweet. I think next time, I will buy more meat and make the sauce, but I think the sauce was too sweet because of honey. I wonder if without it, it is going to be good.
Gisela H.
May 9, 2023
Tasty but very sweet
This is a flavourful dish I quite enjoyed, but it was too sweet for my husband. My only change would be to skip the parsley. I found the flavour clashed.