Braised beef with cranberries & spices

Braised beef with cranberries & spices

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(20 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins plus reheating if frozen


Serves 8
Slow cook beef with cinnamon, saffron, coriander and harissa for a deeply fragrant rustic casserole

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal306
  • fat15g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs15g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre3g
  • protein29g
  • salt0.5g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 8 thick braising steaks, 1kg meat in total
  • 2 large onions, very finely chopped, preferably in a food processor



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 25g ginger, peeled and cut into slivers



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • good pinch saffron



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp harissa



    This hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted spices and herbs is spicy and…

  • 2 tbsp ground almond
  • 1.2l hot beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 85g dried cranberries


  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the steaks 4 at a time and brown them well on both sides, then transfer to a plate. Now add the onions, garlic and ginger to the oil, plus juices left in the dish, and fry for at least 15 mins, stirring very frequently, until they are golden and soft. Add the saffron, cinnamon sticks, coriander, harissa and ground almonds, and stir well for 1 min.

  2. Tip in the stock, then return the meat to the dish. Add the bay leaves, cover and simmer for 1 hr. Remove the lid and cook for another 1 hr 30 mins, checking occasionally to ensure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom. Add the cranberries 10 mins before the end of the cooking time so they can plump up in the gravy. Check the beef after the cooking time – it should pull apart easily with 2 forks. If not, add a splash more water or stock and cook for another 30 mins. Remove cinnamon and bay leaves.

  3. To freeze: Cool completely, then pack into freezer bags. Use within 3 months. Thaw in the bags at room temperature for 5-8 hrs depending on the bag size, although batches of 2 can be unwrapped and reheated in a pan with a little water in the base. This will also keep in the fridge for a couple of days if you don’t want to freeze it. Serve with mash, rice or couscous (or gluten-free alternative).

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Comments, questions and tips

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27th Dec, 2018
Did for 8 of us Boxing Day. After 2.5 hours added glug of Worcester Sauce and 2 x 100% Choc Batons (Hotel Choc, no sugar!) to give it a richer feel. Def needed good Tble spoon of Harissa. Very simple, very tasty after the 3rd hour, went down a treat, even with teenagers. Horseradish mash, roast sweet pot thick wedges, green bean and kale. Empty plates, really pleased.
18th Feb, 2016
Had this meal for supper tonight and whilst I agree with all the other posts that it was flavoursome, I didn't find it flavorsome enough, so added a good squirt of honey and some ras-el-hanout and that just helped to lift it.
23rd Nov, 2014
This was amazing! I don't really like stewed beef recipes that rely on tomato and so thought this would be a good alternative. I used 800g of braising steak and so only added about 1l of water, but needed a splash extra at the end. I also used 2tbsp of harissa paste and thought it was just perfect, while my husband is hoping I will use twice as much next time! Cannot wait to have the leftovers as another meal in a day or two. This would be the perfect kind of recipe to make for a dinner party.
emmapr's picture
24th Feb, 2015
This was delicious. I had some rolled beef brisket which I left whole. I sealed as per the recipe. After adding all the ingredients, I put the covered pan in the oven at 150 and left it for about 4 hours. Added the cranberries at the end, but left the lid on. Flavours were amazing and the meat just forked apart. Served with roasted sweet pot cous cous.
24th Jul, 2014
This was amazing. Would make a few adjustments next time though. Look on tips. It was lovely though
28th May, 2014
This sounds delicious, I love spiced meat. If you like braised shoulder meat, check out this recipe:
24th Jan, 2014
Yummmmmm! Cooked in the slow cooker so used less stock and added a few squirts of tomato purée to help thicken. Really tasty and full of flavour will definitely be making again. Didn't think it was spicy at all and it was a hit with our 4 and 1year old!
22nd Jan, 2014
Halved this recipe for two and it was lovely. It definitely needs a tablespoon of Harissa paste although we do like it fairly hot.
22nd Jan, 2014
A great recipe. I halved everything for 2 people but next time would use a flat tablespoon of Harissa as we like it spicey.
22nd Dec, 2013
Are you sure it should be 1 TBSP of Harissa paste? This was too hot for most of my guests. O Metcalfe, France


20th Nov, 2015
Could you use beef cheeks. Also what side dishes work. Thanks Lisa
24th Jul, 2014
Would be better with 3 onions instead of 2. Also I used about half a small jar of Harissa paste last time and it still wasn't hot. So if u like heat perhaps add a finger chilli or 2. Also it deffo needed more garlic and ginger. I found I couldn't really taste either. So yeah perhaps a good 6 garlic cloves next time and a nice big piece of ginger. It was still delicious anyway. Just this is what I would do next time to give it bigger flavour.
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