Dried figs and a Mediterranean spice blend give these short ribs a North African twist. Serve them over a fluffy herbed couscous pile. Or customize your own braised short rib recipe with the Recipe Maker.
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Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, carrots and onions to the pan. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the aromatics are soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Addthe chopped dried figs, ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, and cook, stirring, until well distributed and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pour 1/2 cup of the red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, until the liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbs., about 1 minute.
Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Pour the tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, remaining 1/2 cup of red wine, and 1 cup water over the ribs and using tongs, arrange the ribs as evenly as possible and no more than two layers deep.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and put the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork tender, about 2-3/4 hours. (The meat may fall off most of the bones about midway through cooking; this does not mean that the ribs are fully tender.)
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned over, sprinkled with chopped parsley and chopped mint.
Make Ahead Tips
It’s best to braise short ribs a day (or at least several hours) ahead for a couple of reasons. First, this allows you to chill the sauce so it can be defatted thoroughly. Also, the flavors only get better with time. To reheat, arrange the meat snugly in a baking dish, cover with foil, and put in a 350°F oven. Reheat the sauce on the stovetop.
I've made this recipe a few times and love it. It does have a granular texture from the figs, which I can appreciate might not be appealing to everyone. I'm going to try it again with dried apricots, to avoid the grainy texture while preserving the sweet flavour.
This did not turn out well at all. The figs left strange "crunchy" seads all through the sauce, and there was an aftertaste that reminded us of prunes.
Although the recipe looks much more complicated than it actually is, it's just a matter of a good dutch oven and assembling your materials. The results are outstanding. Have served this several time with couscous laced with raisins and goat cheese and it has always been a hit. Leftovers are even better!
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