Moroccan-Inspired Beef Short Ribs with Jeweled Couscous

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Because all of my time lately (spare or otherwise) has been devoted to my book, I feel like all the main dishes I’ve been making are Middle Eastern.  And since all of these main dishes that I’ve been enjoying have been for my book, this also means that it’s been forever (or at least what feels like forever) since I shared a hearty main dish on my blog.  Ironically, the dish I’m sharing now isn’t for my book but it still is Middle East-inspired (Morocco, to be exact) and it’s the last thing I made for dinner recently that wasn’t for the book.

Now, this dish would be really perfect made in a tagine (which is a North African cooking vessel that’s usually made out of clay, with a cone-shaped top). I still don’t have a tagine (Mike, if you’re reading this…hello, Gorgeous.  A girl can try, right?  ;) ), so I used a Dutch oven which worked perfectly.

Also, I used boneless beef short ribs for this recipe, but 1 1/2 lbs of stew meat (beef or lamb) would also work fine.

Moroccan-Inspired Beef Short Ribs 

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

2.5 lbs boneless beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat on the outside (if possible) and cut into large (2 to 3-inch) pieces

1.5 lbs onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon Middle Eastern 9 Spice Mix

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch saffron

Hot water

1 cup prunes, halved

2 teaspoons honey

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over moderately-high heat; add the meat and sear on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.  Turn the heat down to medium; add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, Middle Eastern 9 Spice Mix, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and saffron and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add hot water to come just below the top of the meat; bring to a boil over high heat, then cover the pot, turn heat down to simmer, and cook until the meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally (the sauce should be thickened quite a bit by this point; you can add a splash more water if you need to and skim off any fat that you see on the top).

Add the prunes and honey, cover the pot, and simmer until the prunes are plumped and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Jeweled Couscous

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-large carrots, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon Middle Eastern 9 Spice Mix

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

3 tablespoons golden raisins (sultanas)

1/2 cup water

1 1/4 cups couscous

1 1/2 cups boiling water

Heat the oil in a medium, lidded saucepan over medium heat; add the carrot and onion and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the Middle Eastern 9 Spice Mix, salt, pepper, golden raisins, and 1/2 cup water.  Cover the pot, turn heat down to low, and cook until the carrots are tender, the raisins are plumped, and the water is almost all evaporated, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the couscous and stir to coat with the oil; toast 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in the boiling water, cover the pot, turn heat off, and let the couscous sit for 15 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.

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  1. says

    Congratulations on your book! I just found out. The tagine is one of my favorite in Moroccan cuisine. Having visited Morocco I can tell you that their food is gorgeous.

  2. says

    I’m glad you elaborated on what a tagine is exactly..I hadn’t a clue! But so long as a dutch oven works well, that’s all the more convenient. Though I do always find it endearing to drop oh-so-subtle hints for holiday/birthday gift ideas to the ones we love through blogging :) I hope Mike takes the hint! Looks DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to read the book…hope it’s coming along well!

  3. says

    hey, you keep bringing the middle eastern cuisine and i’ll keep enjoying it. this, like most of the others you’ve posted, appeals to me very much!

  4. says

    I’d say this is a keeper for the cookbook Faith! I don’t make shortribs often but love them when I do. These are spiced beautifully and the couscous would be perfect with those flavors!

  5. says

    These looks so rich, flavorful and fabulous. What beautiful food styling as well. Congratulations on your book! How terribly exciting!

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  7. says

    What a lovely dish for the colder months ahead. I need to make some short ribs! What a wonderful marriage of flavors.

    Hope you get that tagine :-)

  8. says

    The short ribs look amazing and I love the name ‘jeweled couscous’.
    I bought a tagine last year and have made short ribs, lamb and chicken with it- all excellent results so I highly recommend purchasing one;)

  9. says

    Heck girl, if you called me gorgeous and cooked me delicious meals like this everyday, I’d buy you many tagines in all the different colours they come in. Then again, that’s never gonna happen, and I ain’t rich so I’ll just keep on dreamin’. Teehee. These short ribs look and sound very flavourful. Really like that you’ve included cinnamon in your ingredients. The couscous looks wonderful as well. Definitely comfort food right there. Mmmmm…..

  10. says

    Hey – looks so very yummy!
    having lived in Morocco for several years, a tagine is a must –
    Mike – help your girl out!!! ;)
    Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to try!

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