Spiced Short Rib Tagine


Lior Lev Sercarz, chef and owner of the spice company La Boîte in New York City, uses North African flavorings to make a delicious sauce for luscious short ribs. Slideshow: More Beef Recipes 

Spiced Short Rib Tagine
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne
Active Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs


Short Ribs

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 pounds English-cut bone-in short ribs (3-inch pieces)

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 preserved lemon (see Note), pulp discarded and peel minced

  • 1 orange, quartered

  • 1 unpeeled head of garlic, halved crosswise

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup diced California dried apricots

  • 1/4 cup diced dried figs

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (see Note)

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice

  • 2 quarts chicken stock


  • 1 1/2 cups instant couscous

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout

  • 6 small radishes, halved

  • 6 baby turnips, quartered

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon honey


Make the short ribs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the nuts in a pie plate until golden, 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.

  2. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown the meat over moderately high heat, turning, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add the carrots, onion, preserved lemon, orange, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, apricots and figs to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, tomato paste, ginger, ras el hanout and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ribs, pomegranate juice and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a plate; discard the bones. Strain the sauce, discarding the solids. Wipe out the casserole and pour in the sauce. Return the ribs to the casserole and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Skim off any fat and keep warm.

Make the accompaniments

  1. In a heatproof bowl, stir the couscous with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a small saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil with the ras el hanout. Stir the water into the couscous, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the radishes and turnips and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and honey and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Spoon the couscous onto plates. Top with the short ribs and garnish with the almonds. Spoon the radishes and turnips alongside the meat and serve the sauce on the side.


Preserved lemons and the North African spice mix ras el hanout are available at specialty food stores and from kalustyans.com.

Serve With

Puree of butternut squash.

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