1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. In a bowl, toss beef cubes in flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add half of beef to pot. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining beef.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onion to pot. Cook 3 to 5 minutes to soften. Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Cook 1 minute. Add a splash of the beef stock; cook 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot.
3. Add broth and bring to a boil. Return beef to pot along with any liquid. Cover and simmer 1-1/2 hours over low heat.
4. Uncover pot and stir in prunes and apricots. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in spinach. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve stew over pearl couscous, if desired.