Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew

Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew

You don't have to tell me twice that Harissa was like, so 2013/2014. My tastebuds just really don't care if the trend has passed: they have discovered spicy middle eastern flavors and are all about them. I've been going through a jar of this stuff per month and testing it out on eggplant, cauliflower, and stirred into sauces and soups. 

Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew
Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew

This Harissa Stew has been one of my favorites: earthy and satisfying but with an edgy kick. Plus, I can make it in my Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting, which almost always wins me over. I like to make enough that it can serve us for a few meals, so that I we have some delicious to take for lunches and dinner is a no-brainer the next night. We ate the leftovers while marathon watching Lord of the Rings on a snow day, which probably didn't hurt my stew eating experience. 

Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew

Slow Cooker Beef & Potato Harissa Stew

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Spicy harissa adds a bold and exotic kick to this otherwise homey stew.

Serves: 8   |    Total Time:


  • 1 pound beef chuck
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 3-4 potatoes, diced (I used a mix of Hannah Sweet Potatoes and Red Potatoes)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoon harissa + more for serving
  • For garnish: Parsley
  • For yogurt topping: 1/2 cup yogurt + juice and zest of 1 a lemon


  1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot on the “Sauté” setting. Once hot, place diced onion, celery, and minced garlic in pot. Cook until onion turns translucent. Add beef and brown on all sides.
  2. Once beef is browned, Add carrots, canned tomatoes, spices, a few dashes each of salt & pepper, and 2 tablespoons of harissa. Pour in broth, and stir everything together. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to slow cooker setting. Cooker on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Make lemon yogurt sauce by zesting and juicing lemon into small bowl and whisking with yogurt until smooth.
  4. Serve stew hot in bowls, and swirl in more harissa paste to taste (more if you like a lot of spice, less if you don’t). Top with a dollop of lemon yogurt sauce and a sprig of parsley.


Harissa Roasted Eggplant with Greek Yogurt, Tomatoes & Cucumbers

Harissa eggplant with yogurt, tomatoes &  cucumber

A jar of harissa sits in my fridge, leftover from this roasted cauliflower

Every time I open the fridge it stares back at me, potential waiting to happen. Smothered on chicken? Stirred into baba ganoush? Smeared on eggplants, and roasted to a crisp? 

Harissa eggplant with yogurt, tomatoes &  cucumber

You mull over these ideas enough and you just have to make moves. Next thing you know, I’m buying eggplants and dicing tomatoes. I’m scooping yogurt, and toasting pine nuts. 

Harissa eggplant with yogurt, tomatoes &  cucumber

Having a jar of an unfamiliar ingredient in the fridge is a muse— it keeps the imagination wandering. I know harissa has been “trending” for a while now, and I’m a bit late to the show, but in my own pace I’m discovering it’s marvels… 

Harissa eggplant with yogurt, tomatoes &  cucumber

Harissa Roasted Eggplant with Lebneh and Cherry Tomatoes

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Eggplant is roasted with harissa and then topped with cool lebneh and fresh tomatoes.

Serves: 2   |    Total Time:


  • 3 small to eggplants (about 6 inches long - try fairytale, antigua, or globe eggplants which tend to stay small)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup harissa paste (you can find this at Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (full-fat, plain)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (use whatever tomatoes you have or a variety of tomatoes, such as cherry, grape, roma, or heirloom)
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons dried fruit, such as raisins, currants, or chopped dried figs or dates
  • Optional: Minced cilantro for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Half eggplants, and then use a knife to score flesh in a grid pattern. In a small bowl, whisk together olive or avocado oil and harissa paste. Brush mixture over eggplants, getting the sauce into the crevasses you created when scoring. Place on baking sheet, and then in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the eggplants are soften through and their skin in brown and wrinkled.
  2. Scoop a dollop of Greek yogurt over each half of the eggplant.
  3. Top with diced tomatoes, cucumber, toasted pinenuts, and optional dried fruit. Place on serving plates and garnish with minced cilantro. Serve.


Harissa Goat Shanks with Carrots, Tomatoes, & Butternut Puree (Paleo)

I have a love-hate relationship with our pressured cooker. It may be energy efficient and convenient, but as soon as it's closed, it's closed. There's no peeking in. There's no poking the food for doneness. There's no turning back. It drives me nuts. If you're like Oliver, and speed is the trump-all factor, a pressure cooker is your dream. If you're like me, and you want to watch your food the entire time it cooks, a pressure cooker might just drive you crazy. There's no finesse. No way to tweak as you go. Really, you have to let go of your inner control freak and let the machine do the cooking. 

No wonder it drive me nuts. 

Despite how much I despise the process, I admit that the pressure cooker might be the most useful kitchen appliance we have. Our Instant Pot looks like R2D2, minus the "arms". ...If those are arms… See: 

Twins. Sort of. Long lost cousins? They're related somehow. 

Anyways, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker/slow cooker hybrid. Here's where the love comes in. One of the best things about this little robot is it allows us to start a meal in the morning, go climbing all day, and come home to a warm homemade meal that would have taken hours to make otherwise. So while we're out playing, the Instant Pot is chugging away, making pretty much any sort of meat fall-off the bone tender. We get home, serve it up, and I take all the credit. See why this thing is gaining my affections? 

The view from Central Flatirons, our go-to spot for day trip climbing.

When you're tired and hungry, everything tastes good. This Harissa Goat Shank, however, tastes amazing whether you're tired or not. A knife is not necessary--after 4 hours in R2D2, a fork is all you need to pull off succulent pieces of meat from these goat shanks. In fact, I think I ate this entire meal with the spoon that was sitting in front of me when I served the dish. 

 The bold flavor of Harissa gives the shanks flavor without over shadowing the goat, which is a surprisingly subtle meat. The tomatoes and carrots are sweet, especially after a day of stewing. It's the sort of dish that takes your mouth halfway across the world and back, conjuring up visions of the middle east. It's the sort of meal you want to make again, the very next day. 

Harissa Goat Shank with Tomatoes & Carrots over Butternut Purée

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 young goat shanks

Homemade Tunisian-Style Harissa (recipe follows)

4 ripe roma tomatoes, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 large carrots, diced

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup bone broth

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced. 

Homemade Tunisian-Style Harissa

1 ounce guajillo chilies (roughly 4-5 dried chilies)


1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon caraway 

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons avocado oil or melted coconut oil


Make the harissa: Soak the chilies in water over night (or cheat: place the chilies in a microwave safe contain full of water and put in the microwave until the water boils and the chilies are soft. Drain the softened chilies, and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Store in air-tight container. 

For the goat: Turn your slow cooker on low and heat the coconut oil in the bottom of the bowl. Add the onions. 

While the onions brown, prepare the goat--peel and trim away any leathery membrane and patches of fat. Goat is a very lean meat so don't concern yourself with peeling off everything (some of that fat will add good flavor). Rub the prepared shanks down with Harissa sauce, and then place in the bottom of the slow cooker to brown. Turn the shanks after a few minutes and brown the other side. 

Add the wine to the pot, along with the broth. Scatter the diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and carrots around the pot. Add salt and pepper. Close the slow cooker and set it for 4 hours. 

When the slow cooker is almost done, steam the butternut squash in a steam basket for 8 minutes. (TIP: Alternatively, before you start the slow cooker, simply leave the butternut squash in two halves, place a steam basket OVER the goat shanks in the slow cooker, and put the butternut squash in the basket.  When the goat is done, the squash will be too!). Mash the squash with a potato masher or in a blender. 

To serve, spread a scoop of squash on a plate, top with a shank. Then drizzle with the softened carrots, tomatoes, and pan sauce.