To make the spice rub:
Mix the ras el hanout, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap or clingfilm and put into the refrigerator for a couple of hours-ideally overnight. That way the spices really penetrate and flavour the meat.
When you're ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole-type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and coriander (cilantro) stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 1 3/4 cups/400 ml stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
At this point add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.
Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or 2 of salt. Scatter the coriander (cilantro) leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.
NotesCook's Note: Ras el hanout (Arabic for 'top of the shop') is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chile, allspice, and orris root.