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Slow cooker North African beef and rutabaga stew

North African beef stew with rutabaga, lemon and cilantro, made easy in the slow cooker. From The Perfect Pantry.

"That's really, really good," my husband Ted declared as he inhaled his second helping of this beef and rutabaga stew. We're reaching the end of stew season, but this year's crazy New England weather has left snow on the ground where there should be daffodils, and stew on the stove where there should be fiddleheads and ramps and asparagus. No complaints in my house. Ted loves beef stew in all forms, at all times of year, and this version is so very different from the heavy stews I usually make for him. I cheated a bit, and used a bag of frozen, diced rutabaga; it was my first time trying this convenience food, and for a long-cooking dish like stew, it was great. You can swap fresh rutabaga, of course, or white turnips if you like those better. Warm spices, harissa, lemon, and a hit of fresh cilantro infuse this stew with an unusually bright flavor. Substitute gluten-free flour to make this easily gluten-free.

North African beef and rutabaga stew, with lemon and cilantro and spicy harissa.

Slow cooker North African beef and rutabaga stew

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, garlic, ground cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, harissa, honey, all-purpose unbleached (or gluten-free) flour, olive oil, lemon.

Serves 8, with couscous, rice or noodles.


1-1/2 lb stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 carrots, cut into 1-/2 inch rounds
20-oz bag frozen diced rutabaga, or 2 large rutabagas, peeled and diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1-2 tsp harissa (use lesser amount for milder stew)
1-1/2 tsp honey, or more to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup chopped dried apricots
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Dry the beef with a paper towel. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, and dredge the beef lightly. Shake off excess.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Brown the meat, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, and transfer the browned meat to a 6- or 7-quart slow cooker. (Note: I use my 6-quart Ninja Cooking System slow cooker, which also has a stovetop setting, so I can brown the meat directly in that.)

Add all of the remaining ingredients except the cilantro, plus 3 cups of water.

Cook on LOW for 7 hours. Stir in cilantro.

Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed with salt, black pepper, lemon, or more honey.

Serve hot, over couscous, rice or noodles. Or, cool completely, and freeze in an airtight container.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More easy slow-cooker beef stews:
Slow cooker honey Sriracha beef stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker Sindhi beef curry, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooked beef and green chile stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker Southwestern beef stew with tomatoes, olives and chiles, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow cooker kimchi stew with beef, from My Korean Kitchen

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I love the sound of this with all those flavorful seasonings, but do you believe I have never once cooked or eaten rutabagas?

Thanks for linking to my Southwestern Beef Stew. I love that dish, but I'm ready for salad weather soon!

Kalyn, lots of salads ahead, even though we're still savoring warm comfort foods here in the Northeast.

Now that we know your opinion of cilantro, tell us: do you substitute, make a cilantro-free portion for yourself - or what?

Susan, excellent question! I'm not much of a beef stew lover, so for Ted, I put the cilantro in. In general, I substitute fresh parsley for cilantro in my own portions, except in dishes like salsa, where there's really no substitute for the real thing.

I am so glad it's finally getting warmer finally but I would love to try this stew - the spice combination sounds so good.

Jeanette, it's really the end of stew season, though the temperatures are supposed to dip down again later this week. Still, I'm glad to see that most of the snow has melted here in southern New England!

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