When I received a tagine as a gift, I began scouring the interwebs for a good recipe. I couldn't find one that suited my tastes just right, so I started to make up my own recipe. Of course, I was set on lamb, but I went to the store and they were out! It seemed like the universe was against me in making this dish! I swallowed my pride and bought some beef, and (much to my surprise!) it turned out spectacularly. I didn't have ras-el-hanout, so I sort of made my own spice mixture and it worked out really well. Feel free to use this as a basic guide and make changes to suit your tastes. —thebunalsorises
Mix the ingredients for the spice rub in a medium sized bowl. Add the beef and massage with the spice rub until well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Heat a generous glug of olive oil in the base of a tagine or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat and stir to coat in the oil. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Remember, don't crowd your meat! You may need to do this in a few batches. Transfer browned meat to a bowl.
Turn the heat down, and add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the browned meat. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and then let simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Lift the lid and add the dates and apricots. Stir is around to combine. Recover, and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours.
By now, the beef should be very tender and the liquid should be thickened. If it is too runny, simmer with the lid off until it reaches the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cilantro and serve over couscous.