The quintessential Moroccan flavour of this stew comes from the sweet and spicy combination of flavours. What's great is that you don't need an authentic Moroccan tagine in order to recreate this beautiful food – a saucepan or dutch oven will do the trick! —Ginene Hutchison
Blot the meat very dry with paper towels (so that it will brown nicely), and season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess flour - the flour will create a little “crust” on the outside of the meat, and will slightly thicken the stew juices.
In a heavy very hot skillet, over high heat, add enough oil to film the bottom of the tagine, then add the meat pieces without crowding the pan (this may be done in batches depending on the size of the tagine). Don’t move the pieces for a minute or so, then turn them to brown all, or mostly all, sides. This will take no more than 3-5 minutes. Remove the browned meat pieces and set aside.
Heat the oil in a tagine, add the onion and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a couple mins more, stirring to prevent them catching and burning.
Add the beef, squash, dates and apricots to the tagine, pour over the tomatoes and stock, season and bring to the boil. Put the lid on and transfer to the oven. After 1 hr, stir the tagine and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further 30 mins. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle over the zest, almonds and cilantro, and serve in warm bowls with couscous and yogurt.