This delicious beef stew from the February 2014 issue of Canadian Living has a Moroccan twist, thanks to the fragrant spices and addition of prunes and apricots. It would be great for a pot luck dinner or a casual supper, and it tastes even better the next day! Serve with couscous or crusty bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check you spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I have not been able to find an all-natural beef stock, so I used Imagine brand organic chicken stock and it worked fine. I used wine from Frogpond Farm that had no sulfites added. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is all-natural. Dried fruits often contain sulfites to preserve colour, so check the label carefully.

Onion and celery flavour the stew

Toss beef with salt and pepper before browning

Brown the beef well

Simmer the stew for 1.5 hours

Sweet and sour beef stew with prunes and apricots


1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1.35 kg stewing beef cubes

½ tsp (2 ml) each salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 ml) ground ginger

½ tsp (2 ml) each cinnamon, and ground allspice

2 bay leaves

3 cups (750 ml) sodium-reduced beef broth

1 cup (250 ml) dry red wine

1/3 cup (75 ml) cider vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) packed brown sugar

2 tsp (10 ml) Worcestershire sauce

4 carrots, chopped

2 white turnips, peeled and cubed

½ cup (125 ml) pitted prunes, chopped

½ cup (125 ml) dried apricots, chopped

2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (30 ml) cold water


In large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) of the oil over medium heat; cook onions and celery, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Scrape into bowl.
Toss together beef, salt and pepper. Add remaining oil to pan; heat over medium high heat. Cook beef, in batches and stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes.

Stir in garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion mixture, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and bay leaves; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in broth, wine, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-½ hours.

Stir in carrots, turnips, prunes and apricots; cook, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender, about 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Whisk flour with cold water; whisk into stew. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Serves 10. To make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

From the February 2014 issue of Canadian Living